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Illegal Fishing on the Rise in Teso :: Uganda Radionetwork
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Illegal Fishing on the Rise in Teso

James Orono, a fisherman in Iruko Landing Site, Kadungulu Sub County in Serere district, says people have gone back to the lake because of the biting poverty.
Men sort out nets at the landing site (Internet Photo).

Audio 3


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Fishermen in Teso Sub Region are braving through the tight UPDF security on Lake Kyoga to conduct fishing at night. Government suspended fishing on Lake Kyoga in January this year citing illegal fishing practices.  

The UPDF Marine unit deployed soldiers on major landing sites like Kagwara in Serere district, Okile and Akampala in Kaberamaido district. However, as the COVID-19 lock down continues to impact the lives of many people in the country,  fishermen along the shores of Lake Kyoga in Serere, Kaberamaido and Soroti districts have returned to the lake illegally. 

At least six fishermen have drowned as they try running away from soldiers. James Orono, a fisherman in Iruko Landing Site, Kadungulu Sub County in Serere district, says people have gone back to the lake because of the biting poverty. 

“Either way, there is no safe haven for us because even if one decides to sit at home, you still die of hunger. Personally, it’s better to die trying because we have children that need to eat. Even casual labour in trading centers where some of us have been going is not available. How does one survive with this lockdown?” Orono said.

Geoffrey Okiswa, the Serere Resident District Commissioner, says the district has recorded three deaths of fishermen who drowned while fishing at night. He notes that the Covid19 lockdown has affected the registration of fishermen on the landing sites yet it would help in lifting the suspension on fishing.  

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Daniel Eigu, the Kamuda Sub County Chairperson in Soroti district, says he has lost two people in the area who drowned while fishing at night. Eigu explains that the deceased had sneaked into the lake but their boats submerged as they were sleeping.

 

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Joseph Ediau, the Bululu Sub County Chairperson in Kaberamaido District, says his voters are starving due to the COVID-19 lock down that has been worsened by the suspension of fishing in the area.

  He explained that some residents go to the lake out of frustration and despair and ready for any outcome. Ediau notes that there is little for the fishing community to rely on since prices of food stuffs have soared.  

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In March, State Minister for Fisheries, Helen Adoa excited locals in Serere when she indicated that fishing would resume in April if all conditions were fulfilled. However, the planned activities to resume fishing have been interrupted by the ongoing COVID-19 preventive measures.