Hoima, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Uganda peoples Defense forces-UPDF Fisheries Protection Unit is taking over security across Lake Albert in one of the measures to combat illegal fishing. The deployment comes after the closure of illegal landing sites on the Lake Albert.
The UPDF was first deployed in 2017 as part of a presidential directive to combat illegal fishing practices and protect the fish resource that was under the threat of depletion. But although the army was deployed, on Lake Victoria, Lake Edward, Lake George and Lake Kyoga, there was no deployment on Lake Albert.
The unit also operates along fish trade routes and markets to stop the sale of immature fish.
Hoima Resident District Commissioner-RDC Samuel Kisembo told Uganda Radio Network that they received communication indicating that as soon as the operation to close illegal landing sites is closed, the Fisheries Protection Unit soldiers will be deployed on the Lake to fight and eliminate illegal fishing.
According to Kisembo, the first phase of closing the 61 illegal landing sites out of the over 200 on the shores of Lake Albert has ended and soon the second phase will resume.
More than 200 landing sites in the districts of Hoima, Buliisa and Kikuube were listed for closure by the government for allegedly facilitating the illegal movement of people to and from the Democratic Republic of Congo at the height of a lockdown occasioned by an outbreak of coronavirus disease.
The Ugandan government also announced a suspension of fishing activities on Lake Albert in April 2020, in line with the nationwide lockdown announced by President Yoweri Museveni, as a measure to control person to person interactions and close possible loopholes in the management of coronavirus disease.
According to the government, some Ugandan fishermen cross to the Democratic Republic of Congo where they mix freely with the local communities there exposing them to infection.