Uganda: Fishing On L.nyakiyanja Suspended Over Poisoning

21 November 2019

Ntungamo district authorities have suspended fishing activities on Lake Nyakiyanja following the death of hundreds of fish due to suspected poisoning.

Residents started seeing hundreds of dead fish floating on the lake about a week ago. Dead fish can be seen floating on the lake mainly in swampy areas that are favourable for fish breeding.

Amos Besigye, the Ntungamo district fisheries officer says their decision to suspend fishing for two weeks, was informed by findings from their initial investigations, which showed that residents used non-selective chemicals that killed the fish.

Besigye cautions residents to desist from what he refers to as irresponsible use of chemicals and pesticides to catch fish, saying it is dangerous to aquatic life. He said the toxins in the dead fish can easily be ingested into the body. Besigye also said farmers near lakes and swamps should leave at least 30 metres if they are to carry out any cultivation.

Ntungamo district agriculture officer Esther Atwiine says they are working closely with the environment department to ensure that the incident isn't repeated. Samson Magyezi, a resident of the area, says some residents reportedly used poison to clear some swampy areas, which ended up killing fish.

Francis Bagumire, a fisherman faults government for failure to institute measures on safe pesticide and chemical usage. He says that the incident is a big challenge to the fishermen since they rely on fishing for their livelihood.

Ntungamo resident district commissioner, George Bakunda, says the district leadership will roll out a sensitization campaign to ensure that residents desist from practices that compromise the safety of the environment and aquatic life.

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