ILLEGAL FISHING EQUIPMENT WORRY PANYIMUR RESIDENTS
Many leaders and community members in Panyimur are worried of the increased rate of using illegal fishing equipment which has led to catching of immature fish from Lake Albert. This has greatly affected the fish supply in the market and the lake runs a risk of losing some of the most marketable fish species like the Nile Perch.
“In fact this is what is happening always! Very bad types of nets are being used and this has led to catching of immature fish”, noted a local resident of the area. “This is not only happening here in Panyimur because I always see people coming from different directions with immature fish”, she reiterated.
Meanwhile, Mr. Ocaya a resident of Pakwach said a type of fishing net locally known as “Kokotta” is very dangerous and catches fish indiscriminately because of its design. “Nile perch which if properly matured can weigh up to 200 Kgs is caught at a small size which cannot even weigh 0.25 Kgs”, Mr. Ocaya remarked.
Immature fishing is illegal in Uganda and thus not allowed. Many illegal nets have been burnt in the area but instead the situation is escalating. The question is where these so called “Kokotta” are being got and what the Beach Management Units and other government agencies are doing to control the situation.
When contacted, the community members recommended authorities from the sub-county, district, National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) and other fisheries agencies to scale up measures to prevent the practice as soon as possible. Some said the community needs to consider other alternative sources of income. The community also needs massive sensitization against immature fishing.
Unconfirmed reports indicate that some community members bribe the law enforcement agents to release the impounded illegal nets.
Panyimur is a town board and a landing site on the shore of Lake Albert in Nebbi. Panyimur attracts people from Bunyoro, Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan, Acholi and other nearby places during the market days majorly to buy Fish.
Article Compiled by Robert Olugu (Programme Officer Human Rights)