Congolese influx on Uganda waters alarming

By Jerald Tumusiime

Kayanja fish landing community on Lake Edward in Kasese District decry the increased numbers of Congolese on the Uganda waters with illegal nets.

According Peter Kakule, the chairperson LC III, Nyakiyumbu Sub County, they use illegal nets of four inches and 4.5 adding that when they try to arrest them they also revenge.

Kakule adds that some Ugandan fish men were arrested and taken to GOMA but due to involvement of the Ugandan Ambassador they were released. However, he adds that vessel fishing gears and boat engines are still held in Congo.

This was revealed on May 3, 2019 in a report presented to the Head of delegation of District Security Team and representative from the ministry of fisheries during a pre-bilateral stakeholders meeting on the conflict for fisheries on Lake Edward and Lake Gorge held at Kayanja landing site.

Kayanja landing site is 8km from the main road found in the queen Elizabeth national park and it is neighbouring Congo with major activities being fishing and other small economic activities.

Sibendire Bigogo Godfrey, the Kasese District Local Government chairperson says they are working hard to fight illegal fishing a call he stresses needs improved collaboration between sister agencies in security matters so that quality fishing is practiced.

A number of trans-boundary issues were raised and recommendation made at all levels which include among others; a need to raise awareness on the benefits of regulated fishery in the fishing community and local leadership on DRC side to curtail such acts.

Government need to put a clear board line that would separate the two sides in order to reduce on the Congolese influx the report reads.

The head of operation on Lake Edward, Amos Mutatina says the reason to why they always impound Tanzanian fish is to ensure Uganda fish is not affected on market.

Ronald Rukunya, the director of fisheries revealed that in abide to intensify the security and ending cross boarder conflicts, government of Uganda has signed a bilateral agreement with Democratic Republic of Congo specifying on fishing regulatory measures.

Rukunya also adds that there is policy harmonization on fisheries and that the authority have embarked on a process to demarcate and projecting the fish breading area which called action plan.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of fisheries under Lake Edward and Albert Fishing project handed a speeding boat to the operation team on waters. End

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