Fishermen on Lake Kyoga will have to wait a little longer to have the fishing ban lifted after the Fisheries Protection Unit (FPU) officials indicated that operations against illegal fishing are still ongoing.
This follows a request to government by local leaders from the 15 districts that share the Lake Kyoga waters, to lift the ban, saying it has severely crippled the livelihoods of the fishing communities.
"I do not see the possibility of the fishing activity on Lake Kyoga resuming soon because there are some areas where we have just launched the clean-up operations. Lake Kyoga is one single water body that cannot be divided.
"You need to wait until the entire lake is free of illegal fishing," Capt Ronald Akandwanaho, the commander of the unit in eastern region, said.
He made the remarks while addressing members of Lake Kyoga Integrated Management Organisation (Lakimo) during an annual meeting at Bukungu Fish Landing Site in Buyende District at the weekend.
Lakimo comprises representatives from the 15 districts sharing Lake Kyoga waters. The districts include Nakasongola, Pallisa, Amolatar, Kamuli, Apac, Dokolo, Buyende, Kaliro, Soroti, Kaberamaido, Serere, Katakwi, Ngora, Dokolo, and Kumi.
Even though Lakimo leadership chaired by the Nakasongola District chairperson, Mr Sam Kigula, tried to convince Capt Akandwanaho to at least lift the ban in Nakasongola and Amoltar districts where the operations were successfully conducted, he stood his ground insisting that it could not happen now.
Ms Lilian Eyal, the Amoltar Resident District Commissioner, commended the work of FPU, but advised the soldiers to tackle the problem of ungazetted fish landing sites.
Fishing activities on Lake Kyoga were suspended in April last year to allow soldiers under FPU register fishermen and enable them acquire standard boats and fishing gears. Although the suspension was to last for two months, it has persisted to date. Government had set December 31, 2019, as the date for reopening fishing activities on Lake Kyoga, but this never happened.