RUKUNGIRI – The UPDF Fisheries Protection Unit has arrested three Congolese men allegedly found fishing illegally on Lake Edward.
Lake Edward water source is shared between Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The suspects have been identified as Kasereka Burere, Mumbere Kavuha, and Kasereka Kabugha.
The UPDF Fisheries Protection Unit Commander Lt. Kato Deogratius said that the suspects did not have fishing licenses and were using four-inch fishing nets which are illegal on Uganda waters.
“We found them during our night patrols on Uganda waters fishing with illegal fishing nets and boats and had already caught small size fish which are not allowed on Uganda market,” Lt. Kato said.
The suspects were handed over to police. The immature fish was distributed to the community members around Rwenshama landing site.
Fishermen on Lake Edward have for a long time complained about Congolese nationals fishing on the Uganda side of the lake. Ms Anita Atukwase, a resident at Rwenshama Landing site said that they want the government to stop Congolese who cross border to Ugandan water because they reduce on the number of fish that would be caught by the Ugandans.
She added that the very size of fishing nets the government has discouraged is being used by Congolese on the same lake. “Our fishing gear was burnt when the officers came because it was of a small size but the Congolese are using the same size, why doesn’t the government allow this size so that we can also do our fishing,” Ms Atukwase said.
Lt. Kato said President Yoweri Museveni ordered the army to start manning lakes in Uganda and their intervention is creating positive results.