They were arrested by the UPDF Marines Department under its ‘Operations Pakalast’.
PIC: Some of the suspects pictured here in court. (PPU)
MASAKA - Seven people have been charged and convicted by a court in Masaka Municipality after being found guilty of illegal transportation and being in possession of immature fish.
The co-accused, all males, are Kyomuhendo Joseph, Odaga Arube, Tusabe Gerald, Kazimura Abudalaah, Ssenabulya Gerald, Matsiko Ismail and Musoke Peter.
The convicts – a driver and businessmen – were, according to prosecution, found transporting fish without a valid fish movement permit on Monday this week along the Masaka-Mbarara road in Rakai district.
The seven suspects standing in the dock at the Chief Magistrates Court, Masaka. They were later found guilty
Using a vehicle of number plate UAZ 949P, they were in possession of immature fish believed to have been fished from the waters of Uganda.
They were arrested by the Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) Marines Department, under its ‘Operations Pakalast’.
The army’s Marines Department is in-charge of fighting against illegal fishing activities on Uganda’s waters. The two offences contravene the Fish Act contained in the Fishing Rules of 2002.
On proving the co-accused guilty on Wednesday, Masaka Court Chief Magistrate Samuel Munobe remanded the co-accused to prison until April 11 when judgement and sentencing them will be pronounced.
UPDF Marines Fisheries Enforcement Task Force guarding impounded vehicles illegally carrying over 150 tonnes of immature fish in Ssaza, Masaka
President Yoweri Museveni instituted the UPDF’s Marines Department ‘Operation Pakalast' on February 25 to fight against illegal fishing especially the catching of immature fish using unauthorized fishing gears.
Under the operation, a record 13 suspects have been arrested and brought before the courts of law.
As many as 21 motor vehicles and five motorcycles have so far been impounded in the districts of Masaka and Nakasongola for being used in illegal fishing activities.
The operation has also impounded and destroyed 134,868 prohibited fishing nets, 200,000 mono filament nets and 70,000 Beach Seines (Kokota) locally made nets.
According to reports, about 100 tons of immature fish have also been intercepted since the launching of ‘Operation Pakalast’.