The Fisheries and Aquaculture Bill was recently tabled before Parliament and seeks to consolidate and reform the law relating to the management of fisheries products and aquaculture due to a number of challenges and emerging issues in the regulation and management of the sector which are not addressed.
The Uganda Fish Processors and Exporters Association has asked parliament to ban the local consumption of the Nile Perch.
Sujal Goswami, the chairperson of the association tabled the request to
the agriculture committee of Parliament which is currently considering the Fisheries and Aquaculture
Bill, 2021. The Bill seeks to consolidate and reform the
law relating to the management of fisheries products and aquaculture due to emerging issues in the regulation and management of
the Law Revision of 2000, the Country's laws were reorganized and the Fish and
Crocodile Act became the Fish Act, which was further amended in 2011to
provide for the establishment of the Fisheries Fund and to permit the retention
and use of fees received by the Chief Fisheries Officer from the issuance of
licences, permits and other activities for development and management of the
However, the government says that these
amendments were not comprehensive enough to fully address all challenges facing
the fisheries sector because they only focused on licences, the introduction of
currency points and retention of funds.
Now the exporters are arguing that the law should ban the local consumption of the species, which is native to River Nile and Lake Albert in Uganda as a measure to protect the Nile perch which is
currently threatened by illegal fishing methods. Goswami who says that they have exported fish to the European market for the last 22 years, demands that local consumption should be limited to Tilapia.
//Cue in; “the
out…and exports alone.”//
He supported the stringent measures proposed under the
Bill to curb illegal fishing practices saying that the level of fish processing
for export has gone down due to these illegal fishing practices.
//Cue in; “when we are…
Cue out…a natural resource.”//
Under the Bill, persons who catch undersized fish face a jail
sentence of seven years or a fine of 200 million Shillings, as one of the
measures to address destructive fishing practices, illicit fish trade, and
invasion of water bodies by aquatic weeds. Similarly, those convicted of using
explosives, firearms or any device capable of producing poison to catch fish
will be imprisoned for eight years without an option of a fine.
Also, those who use poison or any act that
affects fish spawning grounds including aquatic plants or animals in fishing
waters and those who place pollutants into water bodies, face a five-year jail
term on conviction or a fine of 200 million Shillings, or both.
bill also proposes penalties for unlawful seizure of prohibited fishing gear or
vessel, counterfeit fishing licenses, impersonating fisheries officers,
fisheries officers soliciting bribes and others. Punishment for these offences
ranges from imprisonment for 1 to 10 years or payment of a fine between 60 to
200 million Shillings. The current law provides for a general penalty of a jail
term not exceeding two years for anyone who contravenes its provisions.
Bbaale County MP Charles Tebandeke opposed the proposal to ban local
consumption of the Nile Perch.
in; “I think banning…
out…to the locals.”//
Janet Grace Okori-Moe, the Agriculture
Committee Chairperson said that they will review the proposals by the fish
exporters and make better laws for the country.
in; “I may not…
out…to take place.”//
and Nile perch are the commonest types of fish in Uganda and a tonne of Nile
Perch costs between 10 million and 15 million Shillings on the local market depending on the size of