Illegal fishing gear worth Shs1.4bn destroyed in Kagadi

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Illegal fishing gear worth Shs1.4bn destroyed in Kagadi
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Despite continued efforts by the government warning the fishing community against using illegal fishing gear, the fishing community at Ndaiga landing site on Lake Albert shores in Kagadi District have not heeded to the directive.

During a four-month operation by the Fisheries Protection Unit, illegal fishing gear worth Shs1.4 billion was confiscated and have been burnt under the watch of fishermen at Ndaiga landing site.

Musa Shaban, the sector commander of the Fisheries Protection Unit, asked the community to desist from buying illegal gear that only get them into losses.

"I want to ask the fishermen here to avoid these illegal gear, they are very expensive but you can't use them in our presence because we are fully operational, instead save by legal gears and you will not find any challenges with us, or else you will continue making losses," Shaban warned.

Benjamin Tumusiime, the Kagadi deputy resident commissioner - who headed the exercise to destroy the gear, made it clear that the government is not ready to watch people destroy the lake that has the capacity of turning around the economy.

"Once a directive has been passed, you have no way out rather than adhering to it, we will not allow these fishermen who seem not ready to listen destroy our lake under our watch, this lake if protected we will have mature fish that will fetch huge revenues for government both locally and internationally," Tumusiime said.

He also cautioned fishermen to avoid fishing at night, citing heavy winds that have seen seven lives lost in one month.

"Because of the security operations, these fishermen choose to get into the waters at night, and their boats due to heavy winds capsize, but also you have heard sector commander Shaban telling you how they found 40 people in the boat without life jackets," Tumusiime  said.

"This is overloading, and the following morning some bodies were recovered on the lake, people need to avoid waters at night for safety."

Shaban appealed to fishermen to avoid running away from security during their operations, which he says has also seen many boats capsize and die.

"We are not rebels, when we are doing operations it's peaceful you don't have to run away from us and end up risking your lives, some even when they hear fellow boat engines and mistake them to be us they speed," he said.

"Just stop we check you and go, even those with illegal gear we will handle you according to the laws of the country."

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