Breaking

Congolese Fishermen Warned Against Illegal Entry into Uganda

Last week, Samuel Kambale Muluko, the President of Civil Society in Kyavinyonge, a locality in the chiefdom of Bashu, Beni territory, North Kivu province admitted that the population of fish on the Congo side of the lake has reduced heavily.
Some of the boats at the shores of Lake Edward,Rweshama landing site,Rukungiri District (Photo Credit Samuel Amanya)

Audio 2

Ugandan security personnel have warned Congolese fishermen against crossing to fish from the Ugandan side of Lake Edward.  

The Lake that is shared between Uganda by 29 percent and the Democratic Republic of Congo-DRC by 71 percent is a major source of fish species.

Last week, Samuel Kambale Muluko, the President of Civil Society in Kyavinyonge, a locality in the chiefdom of Bashu, Beni territory, North Kivu province admitted that the population of fish on the Congo side of the lake has reduced heavily.   Kambale explains that though fish on the Congolese side of the coast reproduce by 500 metric tons, fishermen attack breeding grounds and kill all the species while fishing. 

Kambale says that Congolese fishermen are forced to illegally cross to the Ugandan side of the lake to carry out fishing.

Kambale attributes the problem to the laxity of the services authorized to apply the fishing regulations on the Congolese side of the lake. He cites in particular the Congolese naval force of failure to conduct investigations and fight against illegal fishing at the lake.

“Those who are supposed to regulate fishing at lake level include the Congolese naval force, the environment service, and agriculture, fishing, and livestock. But why don't they track down these fishermen?” adds Kambale.    

Captain Fidèle Bahati Matembela, the Congolese commander of the naval force on Lake Edward, insists that his unit is fully involved in the fight against illegal fishing. He however promises to have meetings with civil society and fishermen to set up strategies together in a fight against poor fishing methods.

Warrant Officer I Deogratious Ssentiba, the UPDFG Fisheries Protection Unit Spokesperson says that the laxity of authorities in Congo has let fishermen continue to illegally cross the Ugandan side. Ssentiba says that Ugandan security is determined to protect Ugandan waters to make sure that fishing is done in a proper way so that income is generated. 

 //Cue in: “the issue is…  

Cue out: …in Uganda.”//     

 Ssentiba warns that Congolese fishermen who continue to illegally cross Uganda will be arrested and charged accordingly because poor methods of fishing are totally prohibited.

 //Cue in: “if they keep…  

Cue out: …in Uganda.”//

Josué Mukura, Secretary of Federation of Lake Edward Individual Fishermen (FECOPEILE) in North Kivu province, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo says that last month 18 fishermen from Kyavinyonge were arrested by Ugandan authorities for illegally crossing to fish from the Ugandan side but were later released on police bond.

In February, thirty Congolese fishermen from Vitshumbi were arrested and ten canoes seized by the Ugandan navy.  

Images 1