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‘Illegal fishing to end soon’

By Vision Reporter

Added 26th October 2008 03:00 AM

Illegal fishing will soon phase out, the fisheries minister has said. Fred Mukisa said the fisheries law would be amended to make it more punitive.

Illegal fishing will soon phase out, the fisheries minister has said. Fred Mukisa said the fisheries law would be amended to make it more punitive.

By Joel Ogwang

Illegal fishing will soon phase out, the fisheries minister has said. Fred Mukisa said the fisheries law would be amended to make it more punitive.

Mukisa said the law would also be used to strengthen the beach management units and to improve coordination with the private sector.

“I will ensure that fish export volumes rise again,” he said.

Mukisa said the industry was in shambles, adding that illegal fishing mostly took place in the eastern districts of Bugiri, Jinja, Mayuge and Busia.

“I am a Musoga, but when it comes to fighting illegal fishing, I won’t be compromised,” he said.

Mukisa recently said Uganda’s fish exports would drop by $60m (about sh96b) by the end of the year as a result of illicit fishing.

This, he said, followed a robust growth in fisheries export to premium markets from $0.4m (about sh640m) in 1998 to over $145m (about sh232b) in 2008.

Citing the successful fight against fish poisoning in the mid 1990s, Mukisa said his dream was achievable. He, however, said inadequate funding was the sector’s major challenge.

Mukisa, who was addressing Mukono district leaders on Tuesda, also toured Katosi landing site where he burnt 1,200 illegal fish nets.

The minister said tougher penalties were in the pipeline to fight the crime. “Perpetuators of illegal fishing will have to feel the pain,” he said.

Mukono LC5 chairman Francis Lukooya Mukoome noted that in spite of its 40% share of Lake Victoria, there was no fish processing factory in the district.

He accused some fisheries officials in the district of encouraging illegal fishing.

“After confiscating illegal nets, they again sell them to other fishermen. Any one we find guilty of this offence, will be dismissed forthwith,” Lukooya said.

‘Illegal fishing to end soon’

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