The price of fish has almost doubled in most
markets in the Bunyoro sub region over the last four months.
According to a survey conducted by Uganda
Radio Network (URN) in Buliisa, Masindi, Hoima, Kikuube and Kagadi, the
prices of fish in the markets there have skyrocketed.
The smallest fresh Tilapia fish is being sold at
shillings 7000 up from shillings, 3500 while the biggest cost shillings 20,000
which is also up from shillings 10,000.
Geofrey Murungi, a fishmonger at Hoima Central
market says the price change has not only affected Tilapia but also other types
of fish including Nile perch and mudfish.
According to Murungi, a Kilogramme of Nile
perch at Hoima Central market currently costs shillings 15000 up from shillings
10,000 in January.
Edward Kamukumba, the Chairperson Hoima
Central Market attributes the increase in fish prices to the massive crackdown
on the use of illegal fishing gear on the lake Albert waters.
Recently the Uganda Peoples Defense
Forces (UPDF) launched an operation on the lake Albert waters against illegal
fishing gear. This forced many fishermen to abandon fishing following the confiscation of their illegal fishing gear.
According to Kamukumba, the fishermen had been
the major fish suppliers to the markets in Bunyoro but they can no longer supply
or go fishing after the confiscation of their fishing gear.
//Cue in;”Habwa season ya…
Cue in:…ga mutwalu gumu.”//
Cusbert Bingi, a fish dealer at Kalolo landing
site in Kigwera sub county Buliisa district says many fishermen lack the
recommended big boats and other fishing gear as required by the law adding that as
the operation to crack down on illegal fishing gear commenced, many fishermen
abandoned fishing and resorted to other businesses causing scarcity of fish.
//cue in;”Kyo kubanza habwa…
Cue out:…nsu zitembere muhendo.”//
John Atugonza, a fisherman at Kyaterekera
landing site in Kagadi district however attributes the hike in fish prices to
persistent attacks by DR Congo militiamen who have continued to attack Ugandan
fishermen on the lake and as a result many fishermen have abandoned fishing and
resorted to doing other businesses.
Umar Ntambi, a resident of Kyangwali in Kikuube
district says fish has become a preserve of
rich people. He says initially they used to eat fish on a daily basis but that
is no more since the prices have skyrocketed.
//cue in;”Ekye Nyanja bitufokide….
Cue out:…Kiki kigenda maso.”//
Jane Katusiime, a fish dealer at Kaiso landing
site in Hoima says the army operation
against illegal fishing has seen many illegal fish dealers quit the market.
David Busobozi, a fisherman at Butiaba landing
site in Buliisa district says gone are the days when they used to rush into the
lake to carry out fishing, but now fishing is restricted .
//cue in;”Ekyo ekyo ku…
Cue out:…etwe ki etandikwa.”//
James Mwesigwa, the Hoima Distict Fisheries
Officer says they are currently mobilizing fishermen to embrace fish cage farming on the
lake and other water bodies that will help boost fish production in the region.