Fishermen are required to pay an annual Shs 100,000 license to fish from Lake Victoria
Fishing has been a livelihood for many along the Lake Victoria shores in Jinja for decades. However, the Fisheries Protection Unit (a UPDF outfit) recently gave a directive that all fishing boats must be licensed at a fee of shs 100,000. Few boats complied with what many saw as shear injustice.
Some of the boats belonging to the fishermen that the Fisheries Protection Unit were impounded due to lack of an operational license for fishing on lake Victory in Masese landing site in Jinja City
The Fisheries Protection Unit under the Uganda People’s Defence Forces Marine has closed Masese landing site in Jinja City over unlicensed fishing boats operating on Lake Victoria.
Capt Eric Biryamuhangi ,the Commander of Fisheries Protection Unit in Jinja and Mayuge districts said the fishing community in Jinja are non-compliant so closing the landing site is to enforce them license their boats for fishing activities.
Capt Biryamuhangi on Tuesday said it was unfortunate that no single fishing boat in Jinja has been licensed after several sensitization campaigns. The officer said they removed all the boats from the water that are not licensed until the owners comply and meet the requirements.
Capt Biryamuhangi said they are doing the operation together with Jinja District Fisheries Department to enforce the licensing requirement.
He however explained that only licensed fishing boats will be allowed to operate and fishermen who illegally take their unlicensed boats into the water will be dealt with accordingly. Jinja District Fisheries Officer Sarah Namulondo,said the fishing communities are illusive and they have not taken the deadline for the licensing of their boats as priority.
“ We are now applying other means to make them pay for the licenses and this time they will do it willingly because they have been given enough time that some of them have misused” ,said Ms Namulondo.
Ms Namulondo said the cost of licensing a boat is shs100,000 and it expires after a year.
The Vice Chairperson of Masese landing site, Mr Philemon Gudeli said there are about 3, 000 people directly and indirectly employed in the fishing activity who are going to be affected following the enforcement of licensing boats in Jinja District.
Mr Hakim Ngobi whose boat was among the impounded ones said they (Fishermen) were to blame for failure to license the boats because they had been told to do so some time back.