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July 12, 2024
Kampala Daily
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FPU burns illegal fish nets worth sh1.4b

The Fisheries Protection Unit (FPU) has destroyed illegal fishing nets worth sh1.4b.

FPU is a marine section of the Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) which was formed by President Yoweri Museveni in January 2017 to mitigate and end illegal fishing on water bodies.

The burning happened at Kiyindi landing site in Buikwe district last Thursday, April 25 and it was witnessed by Buikwe district woman member of parliament Hon. Diana Mutasingwa who is also the cabinet minister of state in the office of the Vice President.

Also present was Lt. Col. Mercy Tukahirwa the commanding officer of FPU. They cautioned the fishers against illegal fishing.

The illegal nets were impounded from Kiyindi and Kikondo landing sites during operations on Lake Victoria that lasted four months.

Lt. Lauben Ndifula, the FPU Public Relations Officer (PRO) says many fishers were arrested but those who had committed the crime for the first time were pardoned. However, the commanders first educated them on the dangers of illegal fishing.

The rest were handed over to police and later to court which sent them to Kitalya prison but these are the adamant fishers who had been warned several times.

“The laws that govern fisheries are clear and FPU follows the Fisheries and aquaculture act 2023,” Ndifula says.

Meanwhile, the destroyed nets included; 13,860 monofilament pieces worth sh1.2b, cash nets (56 pieces) worth sh5.8m and 150 undersized grill nets worth sh9m.

They also burnt 4,000 undersized hooks worth sh24m, 12,000 beach seine lines or ropes costing sh30m and 200 beach seine nets worth sh400 million. All the items cost sh1.4b.

Ndifula says those nets, especially monofilament are very dangerous because they scoop immature fish, kill fish species and predators and once damped in the lake, they take over 100 years to decompose.

On how the illegal nets end up on the lake, Ndifula says, some are smuggled into Uganda through porous borders while the others like kokota are made by fishers from their houses and it’s hard to trace them.

“Mind you, good nets and standard hooks are on the market but they don’t want to buy them because they catch only mature fish,” he says.

 

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