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Curbing immature fish imports

(courtesy photo)

The fisheries sector in Uganda is facing significant challenges, prompting the Minister of State for Fisheries, Hon. Hellen Adoa, to address the public and stakeholders. With a focus on addressing issues ranging from illegal fishing methods to the influx of immature fish imports, the government is taking steps to safeguard the country’s vital fisheries resources.

Rampant illegal fishing methods

One of the primary concerns highlighted by Hon. Hellen Adoa is the widespread use of illegal fishing gear and methods within the fishing community. The use of monofilament nets, undersized gillnets, and illicit techniques like “hurry up” fishing poses a severe threat to fish stocks and biodiversity in Uganda’s water bodies.

Immature fish imports from South Sudan

The Ministry has observed a troubling trend of immature fish entering Uganda through the Elegu border from South Sudan. This influx not only undermines local fish stocks but also disrupts the ecological balance of the region. Efforts are underway to collaborate with the Government of South Sudan to regulate this trade and prevent further harm to the fisheries sector.

Importance of small pelagic fishery

Hon. Hellen Adoa underscored the significance of the small pelagic fishery to Uganda’s economy and food security. Species such as Mukene, Ragoogi, and Muziri contribute substantially to the country’s total fish catch, employing a significant portion of the fishing community along the fisheries value chain.

Sustainable exploitation and regulation

The Ministry is committed to ensuring the sustainable exploitation of small pelagic fishery resources. Clear regulations govern fishing practices, including the prohibition of using nets with meshes below specified sizes and operating within designated areas. Any violation of these regulations will be met with strict enforcement measures.

Ban on “hurry up” fishing method

In response to the destructive impact of the “hurry up” fishing method, which targets Nile Perch and other species indiscriminately, the Ministry has imposed a ban. This method not only jeopardizes fish stocks but also predominantly captures juvenile Nile Perch, exacerbating the threat to their populations.

Enforcement and collaboration

Fisheries enforcement agencies and community leaders are instructed to take decisive action against illegal fishing practices. Additionally, collaboration between government departments and local authorities is essential to ensure effective implementation of regulations and awareness campaigns.

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