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Illegal fishing to end in months - Minister

By Vision Reporter

Added 23rd October 2008 03:00 AM

FISHERIES state minister Fred Mukisa has made a commitment to end illegal fishing on Ugandan waters in nine months. He said the fisheries law would be amended to make it more punitive.

FISHERIES state minister Fred Mukisa has made a commitment to end illegal fishing on Ugandan waters in nine months. He said the fisheries law would be amended to make it more punitive.

By Joel Ogwang

FISHERIES state minister Fred Mukisa has made a commitment to end illegal fishing on Ugandan waters in nine months. He 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 a shambles, adding that illegal fishing was mostly taking 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.
“I am like Jesus who told God that, while His spirit wanted to restore humility, the body was weak,” he said.

Mukisa was addressing Mukono district leaders on Tuesday. He 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 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 in months - Minister

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