By Emmanuel Balukusa
Fishermen in Buikwe district have called upon the Government to double its efforts in fighting the illegal fishing gear that is both imported and smuggled into the country.
Lawrence Muwanguzi, a fisherman at Bubwa-Kazi landing site in Ssi-Bukunja sub-county, said all the illegal fishing equipment is imported, adding that in Uganda, there is no manufacturer of the illegal and substandard fishing nets.
“All the fishing nets are imported from China. In Uganda, we don’t have factories that manufacture these manyala nets, So, we call upon the army to tighten border supervision, so that the fake and illegal gear do not pass. If it’s done, there will be no more illegal fishing in the country,” he said.
The call was made at Bubwa-Kazi landing site in Buikwe district where the Fisheries Protection Unit (FPU) held a meeting with the Buikwe district leaders, headed by district chairperson Jimmy Kanaabi, the dwellers and fishermen at the landing site.
Kanaabi said the fishermen raised many issues, such as poor living standards at the landing sites and the substandard or illegal fishing items on the market.
He asked the Government to allocate funds to the fishermen in Buikwe such that their welfare and incomes are increased.
Items worth millions of shillings were burnt and these include fishing nets, hooks, buckets, baskets and ropes.
The leaders and FPU officers also held a meeting at Kigugo landing site over the same matter.
Fishermen asked to form groups
Lt Hatim Mbaziira, the Buikwe Fisheries Protection Unit commander, said FPU soldiers were focused on sensitising and educating them on the dangers of illegal fishing.
He said his mission was to transform the lives of the fishermen by helping them form groups for registration. After this is done, he provides them with timber such that they take up commercial beekeeping.
Mbaziira gave over 600 pieces of timber to the Bivamuntuyo community group to set up beehives and all the members of the group were among the people who engaged in illegal fishing.