HOIMA, UGANDA: The Fisheries Protection Unit FPU has distributed 1000 kilograms of impounded premature fish to Uganda Police, Prison, and the army in Hoima.
The premature fish were impounded from various landing sites on Lake Albert in Bunyoro region where the FPU has been conducting operations since August this year in a move to curb the illegal fishing activities within Bunyoro region.
The operation according to FPU is targeting those with undersized boats, fishing nets, hooks, and monofilament nets among others from the landing sites within the districts of Hoima, Kagadi, Kikuube and Buliisa.
The gears and undersized nets were confiscated and burnt while the premature fish were distributed to men in uniform where the Hoima Prison received 700 kilograms, 200 Kilograms to the army, and 100 kilograms to Hoima police.
Maj. Richard Kafaabi one of the FPU commanders on Lake Albert says the distribution was done after getting a directive from court and added that they are to continue the distribution of the impounded premature fish to people in needy, security personnel and Uganda Red Cross.
“As a directive from court, today we managed to donate 1000 kilograms of impounded premature fish to Hoima police, Prison and the Army, and we are hoping this activity to also benefit our people in needy more especially the elderly group and the Uganda Red Cross in our next phase”. Said Kafaabi.
Meanwhile, Yosam Tumwebaze the Hoima Resident Districts Commissioner said that the FPU operations shall continue following the directives from the government until illegal fishing activities are washed away from Lake Albert.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, illegal fishing involves using less than five-inch fishing nets for tilapia and less than seven-inch fishing nets for Nile Perch. It also entails using fishing boats that are less than 20 feet in length.
It is estimated that Uganda loses upto USD430 million from unregulated fishing every year. To improve regulation and restock the lakes, President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni ordered the deployment of FPU personnel on the lakes since 2017.
In November this year, the fishermen asked the army leadership to investigate the Fisheries Protection Unit-FPU for allegedly selling impounded immature fish in the Democratic Republic of Congo-DRC.
According to the aggrieved fishermen, FPU personnel are conniving with boat transporters both in Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo to quietly sneak their impounded immature fish to DRC through Lake Albert.
There are more than 50,000 fishermen on Lake Albert who harvest more than 100,000 tons of fish per year. Overall, fishing supports the livelihood of more than 1.6 million people in Uganda.