The four fishermen, who were operating from Bugonga landing site in Entebbe Municipality, were found using the banned monofilament fishing nets and illegal bao tatu canoes which include “Pala”, “Manga 3” and “Manga 4,” all of which were set ablaze.
Four fishermen identified as Joseph Matovu, Sam Baligwa, Alex Mugisha and Gerald Byaruhanga, all residents of Katabi town council in Wakiso district, were on Thursday arrested by the UPDF fisheries protection unit during a crackdown on illegal fishing.
The four fishermen, who were operating from Bugonga landing site in Entebbe Municipality, were found using the banned monofilament fishing nets and illegal bao tatu canoes which include "Pala", "Manga 3" and "Manga 4," all of which were set ablaze.
Maj. James Nuwagaba, the UPDF fisheries protection unit commander revealed that despite their efforts to sensitize fishermen on the dangers of using illegal fishing gear, majority have remained adamant and continued with the vice.
"We have sensitized, pardoned and given them chance to hand over the illegal fishing gear but majority of the fishermen have remained adamant and still use the banned monofilament fishing nets and the illegal bao- tatu canoes to catch immature fish," said Maj. Nuwagaba.
According to Maj. Nuwagaba, operations on illegal fishing have even helped to identify and weed out majority of the criminal gangs who were hiding on the islands.
He however, refuted allegations that his unit has denied fishermen, access to the lake, asserting that, all he wants is, for fishermen to use the acceptable fishing gear as stipulated by the Fishing Act.
Meanwhile RDC Rose Kirabira who was on a fact finding mission with the Entebbe DISO Elias Nimwesiga, commended the fisheries protection unit for the crackdown on illegal fishing and called on the UPDF to deploy more soldiers so as to ably monitor and patrol activities conducted at the various water bodies across the country.
"I and the DISO chose to come to Bugonga landing site to hear from the fisheries protection unit team because there are several complaints from fishermen that they are harassed and chased away from the Lake.
"We are glad that the FPU team has availed us with a report which indicates that the fishermen are dishonest and engage in illegal fishing,"Kirabira said.
She further stated that Uganda's fish exports have over the years declined due to illegal fishing.