FPU returns impounded Fishing Gear to Owners

The Fisheries Protection Unit (FPU) in Entebbe, Wakiso district at the Guda landing site released items that were impounded from various landing sites on Lake Victoria in the Central region, in their campaign that aimed at curbing the poor fishing methods on the Lake.

The items included 113 fishing engines, 3 vehicles, 17 motorcycles, 4 bicycles, and 120 boats that were impounded during their operations on various landing sites on Lake Victoria since 2021.

The campaign targeted unauthorized boats, nets, and other fishing methods which were not matching with the standards set by the FPU.

While handing over items to the owners, Jacklyn Akankunda the outgoing deputy RDC of Entebbe said, it was a great achievement on the side of the government in the process of covering the gap between the army and citizens.

Some of the boat engines that were returned to the Fishers

“Giving back the items to the fishermen has done us well and we can have peace now because the soldiers can relate well in the public therefore we thank the president for this act,” she added. 

She also advised fishermen to obey the rules that were set by the government for both the good of themselves and the country. 

The Wakiso Fisheries Protection Unit commander Lt. Hatim Mbaziira said the impounded items were got from illegal offenders that break the law in the Fisheries Act and they have been kept safe.

He also revealed that the president made a directive to give out these items without any charge, and therefore called upon the owners to move with their documents that clarify ownership of the gear so that they can access them again.

“We are giving back these items to their respective owners in respect to the President’s directive but also urge the fishermen never to use illegal fishing methods again,” Mbaziira appealed.

Ronald Kalema the Katabi town council chairperson appreciated the leadership of FPU in Wakiso for working with both the local leaders and people, for the good of the fishing industry and the country at large. 

“Katabi and Entebbe being on Lake Victoria, there is no way we could resist working with leaders and people because, definitely if you want these fishermen to listen to you, you have to go through their leaders which Lt Mbaziira and colleagues have done,” he added.

He also lauded them for giving back the gear and other items to the owners and also asked the fishermen to follow the law saying, having one big fish is better than a basin of immature fish.

Ivan Katongole a fisherman at Kaseny Landing site in Katabi town council said, he was going to return to fishing activity after the return of his engine by the FPU officers.

“Am grateful that the FPU officers have returned my engine which had been impounded for the past six months. I have been unemployed during this time but after the return of my engine, am now going to start fishing since it’s my main economic activity,” he said.

Former Entebbe RDC with area local leaders officiating on the hand over of earlier confiscated fishing gear

According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, illegal fishing involves using less than five-inch fishing nets for Tilapia and less than seven-inch fishing nets for Nile Perch. It also entails using fishing boats that are less than 20 feet in length.   

It is estimated that Uganda loses USD $430 million from unregulated fishing every year. To improve regulation and restock the lakes, President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni ordered the deployment of FPU personnel on the lakes in 2017.

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Johnmary Luwaga

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