The Fisheries State Minister, Hellen Adoa has threatened to name and shame illegal fishermen on Lake Victoria and the other country’s major water bodies masquerading as statehouse officials.
Addressing staff at the National Fisheries Resources Research Institute-NAFIRRI in Jinja city on Wednesday, Adoa claimed that most illegal fishermen are wealthy individuals who use their influence to engage in illegal fishing practices without any restraint.
She revealed that most of the highly connected illegal fishermen smuggle immature fish to the neighbouring countries where they are cleared, repacked and sealed as goods in transit before being transported back into the country.
According to Adoa, four vehicles whose owners had repackaged immature fish and attempted to smuggle it back into the country were tracked and impounded at Mpondwe border post last week.
She says that there is a group of wealthy individuals who deploy youths to fish on their behalf using both acceptable and illegal fishing gears so as to reap big from their fish catch.
Adoa argues that such acts are tremendously contributing to the depletion of some fish species within the country’s major water bodies since law enforcement officers are often hoodwinked to think the fishermen are adhering to the acceptable fishing protocols.
She notes that the fisheries sector is a viable state revenue earner, which the government should boost through extending legal fishing gears to the fishermen just like it is done with farmers.
NAFIRRI’s Director, Winnie Nkalubo says that they have consistently registered a shortage of fish in the country’s major water bodies despite the availability of law enforcement across the lakes.
Nkalubo says that the decline in the fish catch is also a result of the increasing pollution levels that have led to the destruction of the fish breeding areas.