Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Uganda Peoples’ Defence Forces – UPDF Fisheries Protection Unit has acknowledged that the fight against the use of monofilament nets on Lake Kyoga is still an uphill task.
The use of monofilament nets was banned as part of the measures to prevent depletion of stocks arising from the collection of immature fish and other water species. This is because the lines of monofilament nets are too small and difficult to spot when submerged in water. Other prohibited nets are seine nets, cast nets, trawl nets and gill nets.
But the Fisheries Protection Unit which was deployed on the lake in 2017 to stop illegal fishing activities has continued to seize a multitude of monofilaments and other types of undersized nets during its operations. Up to 52,997 have so far been impounded followed by hooks, cast nets, seine nets and basket traps.
Lt. Colonel Benon Namanya, the Commander of the Fisheries Protection Unit in Nakasongola district says that although they have reduced the use of illegal nets on Lake Kyoga, monofilament nets are still a challenge. He says that the nets are sold to fishermen by traders from Kampala.
Nakasongola district chairman Sam Kigula says that the unit cannot succeed in eliminating monofilament nets unless the government heightens enforcement through Uganda Revenue Authority and Uganda National Bureau of Standards to stop their importation.
Tom Bukenya, the Acting Commissioner for Control Regulations and Quality Assurance at the Fisheries Ministry says that most of the illegal fishing gear is smuggled into the country since their importation was banned by President Yoweri Museveni.
The manufacture, sell, importation or use of monofilament nets is prohibited in any waters of Uganda unless authorized in writing by the Chief Fisheries Officer or an authorized licensing officer, in line with the 2010 Fishing regulations.