Ntoroko. The Fisheries Protection Unit-FPU has set ablaze more than 1000 illegal fishing boats and over 500 monofilament nets impounded from various landing sites on Lake Albert.
The illegal fishing gear was impounded during various operations in Kikuube, Kagadi and Ntoroko districts under the Commander of Lt. Colonel Edward Ijjo.
Speaking to URN in an interview, Lt. Colonel Edward Ijjo explained that the operations were successful.
The most affected fishermen are from Kitebere and Ndaiga landing sites in Kagadi district, Nkondo, Bugoma and Busiki in Kikuube district while others are from Kanara in Ntoroko district.
Lt. Col Ijjo says the operations will continue to cover all the landing sites on Lake Albert until all illegal fishing activities are stopped. Several affected fishermen pleaded with the FPU not to burn their fishing gear in vain.
Alfred Okwai, a fisherman at Bugoma landing site whose three boats were also set ablaze, says that the government could have pardoned them since they entirely depend on fishing for their entire livelihood.
Lake Albert employs approximately 56,000 fishermen who harvest more than 100,000 tons of fish per year. Overall, fishing supports the livelihood of more than 1.6 million people in Uganda.
Over the last 15 years, the fisheries sector has played an important social and economic role in the country as one of the key foreign exchange-earners, contributing 2.6 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and 12 per cent to agricultural GDP.
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