Anthony Okello, MP Kioga County and his Kwania counterpant Ayoo Tonny accuse the fisheries department of harassing fishermen in their areas.
Legislators from Lango Region have expressed concern about the plight of fishermen operating on Lake Kyoga and Kwania. Anthony Okello, MP Kioga County and his Kwania counterpant Ayoo Tonny accuse the fisheries department of harassing fishermen in their areas.
They claim that while government banned the use of undersize fishing gear, some officials operate cartels which allow people to catch immature fish. Ayoo alleges that the officials pocket a bribe of about 600,000 shillings to allow the fish mongers and fishermen to transport immature fish.
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Anthony Okello, the Kwania MP says that the fishermen are also harassed by strangers carrying appointment letters from the Fisheries department claiming to have been deployed to curb illegal fishing.
He alleges that some of the officials collect money from fishermen, beat them up, loot the catch and later sell it in breach of the fish act. The Fish Act stipulates that seized products shall be sold and the proceeds be taken to court.
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The Mps are seeking for answers from the Ministry of Agriculture on the operations of their staff around the two lakes. The ministry is yet to respond to the concerns raised by the legislators. Fisheries resources are among the most significant natural endowments of Uganda.
Statistics from the Fisheries department show that Uganda’s fisheries landscape includes the five large lakes of Victoria, Kyoga, Albert, Edward, George and Kazinga Channel, 160 minor lakes, rivers (Albert Nile), swamps and floodplains all of which are critical habitats, breeding and nursery grounds for fish and suitable sites for fish farming.
According to the annual fisheries report 2010/2011, Fish emerged as a non-traditional export commodity in the late 1980’s, with export earnings increasing from US$ 5.3 million in 1991 to US$ 83.3 million in 2010. The Ministry of Finance agrees with this position indicating that over the last 10 years, the fisheries sub sector has taken a strong position in the country’s economy as the second largest foreign income earner after coffee with the Nile Perch, Nile Tilapia and Mukene forming the mainstay of the fisheries.
lango mps decry mistreatment of fishermen
illegal fishing practices