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Seven Drown In Lake Kyoga in Two Months :: Uganda Radionetwork
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Seven Drown In Lake Kyoga in Two Months

Nsamba says they have also appealed to the Fisheries Protection Unit to resume their operations on the Lake and fight the practice of fishermen gazetting certain spots on the lake, which is fueling clashes.
Such small sized boats are risky because they can easily be destroyed by strong winds leading to drowning of fishermen

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At least seven fishermen have drowned in Lake Kyoga in the past two months due to strong winds and conflicts over fishing grounds, according to the local authorities. 

The latest victims are Bazilio Ouma of Dagala Landing site and John Kigayaza from Kacanga landing sites who drowned in the lake over the weekend.

Others are from Kibuye, Zengebe and Kikalaganya from Nakasongola district. All cases recorded between July and August this month. Sam Kigula, the Nakasongola District LC 5 Chairman explains that some of the fishermen drowned during clashes over control of fishing areas in the lake.

Kigula says following the withdrawal of the UPDF Fisheries Protection Unit from Lake Kyoga, several fishermen have gazetted fishing grounds using stamps in the lake, which leads to clashes whenever another fisherman tries to encroach on the area.

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Nelson Muruli, a fisherman in Lwabyata Sub county, say the rampant conflicts have created panic among members of the fishing communities, which calls for police intervention to curb the fights.

Fred Byabagambe, the Kalungi sub county LC 3 Chairperson, says other fishermen drowned when their small boat capsized because of strong winds. Byabagambe says they have launched an operation to compel all fishermen to buy life jackets and recommended boats before venturing into the lake to reduce the deaths.

David Nsamba, the Nakasongola District Fisheries Officer, says they have tried to sensitise fishermen to dock on neighboring landing sites in case of strong winds. Nsamba says they have also appealed to the Fisheries Protection Unit to resume their operations on the Lake and fight the practice of fishermen gazetting certain spots on the lake, which is fueling clashes.

He is optimistic that the clashes will reduce once the unit resumes its operations. Paul Kangave, the Savannah Regional Police Spokesperson asked for time to comment on the matter, saying he was still consulting on the matter.

Captain Benon Namanya, the Commander of the Fisheries Protection Unit on Lake Kyoga, says they will soon resume their operations against illegal fishing practices and cautioned fishermen against using boats that endanger their lives.

“Some deaths could be averted if the fishermen were using recommended boats, which can't be damaged by winds easily,” he said. In 2017, the Fisheries Protection Unit destroyed over 300 boats that were being used for illegal fishing on Lake Kyoga.