UPDF Marines under the fisheries protection unit have captured, and confiscated illegal fishing material from more than 20 different Congolese nationals that were engaging in the practice on Lake Edward.
The Unit instituted by President Yoweri Museveni on the shores of all Lakes across the country is mandated to fight against all bad and illegal fishing methods.
However, while in Kasese, Rukungiri, and Rubirizi Districts, patrolling fishers and lake users, the unit met a number of fishermen from the nearby Democratic Republic of Congo which shares Lake Edward with Uganda.
The fishermen were engaging in bad practices including the theft of different fishing gear that was stolen from Ugandans operating in the same jurisdiction.
However, the captured fishermen, and nonresidents were asked to surrender all stolen property from Ugandans to the Fisheries Protection Unit before being asked to return to their home country, the Democratic Republic of Congo.
However, the Fisheries Protection Unit led by the sector operations commander Maj. Steven Alituha and spokesperson Deo Sentiba remained confused about how to deal with the Congo Nationals who not only carry out illegal fishing on Lake Edward but also steal recommendable nets and Engine boats.
The operation started from FPU detached in Katwekabatoro landing site to Kayanja Fish Landing site found in Kasese District with about two thousand fishers and lake users. From Kayanja, the team traveled to Rukungiri District at the Rwenshama Fish Landing site and later to the Rwenshama landing site.
The team found immature fish trapped by the different fishermen, prompting an immediate capture and seizure of the fishermen’s outboard engines and fishing nets. However, several fishermen especially those from the nearby DRC took off fearing arrest.
The UPDF Marines later burnt all impounded illegal fishing gear. However, fishers hailed FPU for the efforts put in to fight illegalities on water. They also applauded President Museveni for establishing the fisheries protection Unit.
The team also engaged the fishermen in a sensitization meeting on better fishing methods.
At Kazinga landing site in Rubirizi District, more confiscated illegal fishing gear was also burnt down to ashes as further sensitization was being done to the fishermen within the area.
Maj. Steven Alituha the Rubirizi Sector Commander however decried that politicians are misleading fishermen by promoting illegal fishing with hidden interests.
However, they urged fishers and Lake Users to desist from indulging in illegal fishing as one way to conserve our natural resources such as the lake for future generations to use.