President Yoweri Museveni has said that the Uganda Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF) will be deployed on Uganda’s water bodies to assist the fishing communities in protecting lakes from over-fishing and the catching of immature fish.
While addressing the people of Busia recently, the President also noted that the fisheries ministry had deployed ‘protection’ officers, who had instead turned to corruption and extortion of both the fishermen and fish traders, thereby exacerbating the already bad situation.
It is worth noting that the catching of immature affects the national economy, since most of the fish harvested is sold outside Uganda for selfish gain by private individuals, who don’t even pay taxes for fear of being apprehended because of engaging in an illegal activity in the first instance.
Also, some of the people involved in immature fishing use illegal fishing gear that quickens the depletion of stocks while others at times engage in unauthorized chemical use, rendering the waters dangerous for use by the unsuspecting communities living near the water source.
Similarly, because the activity is carried out discreetly, the people, mostly the children who depend on the fish for food are denied nutritious meals, leading to diseases arising from malnutrition. All these aspects combined affect the planning at Treasury, since they are unaccounted for and cannot be pegged to any predictable end.
So, it is time to rein these immature fish predators who deny the country a good and sustainable income; something that can only be achieved through organised and prudent fishing methods.