The UPDF Fisheries Protection Unit has destroyed illegal fishing nets and canoes worth millions of shillings in an operation on Lake Kyoga.
The over 300 fishing canoes and 500 illegal fishing nets were confiscated in just three days of the operation, geared against poor fishing on Ugandan waters. Landing sites of Namasale, Naluboyo, Bangaladeshi and Kayago among others have been swept by the operation.
On top of bad fishing methods, the Lt Col James Nuwagaba- led operation is enforcing environmental protection and good sanitation and hygiene by cleaning the lake shore of garbage, plastic bags and stones. Residents are also ordered to have pit latrines and plant trees around the lake shores.
Jonathan Akweteireho, the Amolatar Deputy Resident District Commissioner says since 2016 the lake had become almost useless to the economy of the country, due to poor fishing methods. Akweteireho welcomes the fisheries operation and emphasizes that everyone must support the exercise.
He notes that the reducing water levels of the lake is “a classic example of environmental degradation where multipronged approach is necessary.” He hails the army for leading the way, saying “too much democracy in service delivery is Uganda’s current problem.”
The operation has covered the districts of Amolatar, Kwania, Apac, Kaberamaido, Nakasongola, Buyende, Soroti, Kayunga and Kamuli, which shared Lake Kyoga. Meanwhile reports indicate that the previously congested landing sites are now deserted as hundreds of fishermen and their families leave, some trekking for miles up to Soroti, their home district.