Fishermen cry, seek help as Uganda destroys fishing gears

As the government reports tremendous success in its operation to eradicate illegal fishing methods under the current laws of Uganda, fisher communities cry foul over inability to acquire the recommended gears.

From Dei landing site in Pakwach district to Ntoroko on Lake Albert, communities have the same chorus of crying over their dying traditional source of livelihood and food.

Pole Deno a fisherman at Dei Landing site says the soldiers have zero tolerance to the argument over a complex transition from the traditional fishing gears to the recommended modern ones due to the financial implication.

He adds that, The fishers are troubled to see traditional fishing gears being burnt without replacement or due compensation bearing in mind that the Lake Albert communities have for three years been plagued by closure of some landing sites, flooding of the lake and the effects of the global Covid-19 pandemic.

The Marine Brigade Public Relations Officer (PRO), Lt Emmanuel Mucunguzi, told the press that they destroyed fishing gears worth Shs1b about $269,000.

He advises the fishermen to combine financial resources to purchase the recommendable gears and use them to buy more gears until everyone will have theirs.

The Hoima Deputy Resident District Commissioner (RDC), Michael Kyakashari, advises fishermen to consider embracing government programmes like Emyooga and Parish Development Model (PDM) to mobilize funds to acquire the recommendable fishing gears.

Responding to allegations that the UPDF are implementing a discriminatory operation, Lt Emmanuel Mucunguzi, the UPDF Marine Brigade PRO, says they target only illegal fishing gear.

He urges fishermen to desist from wasting money buying illicit gears because the operation is there to eradicate them.

The operation has also been surrounded with allegations of harassment that lead to death of some fishermen and extortion but the implementers deny.