MASAKA – Seventeen fishermen have been arrested with a substance which they were pouring into Lake Victoria allegedly to kill fish so they can pick it easily when it floats of the surface
Nsubuga Muhammad, the Masaka Regional Police Spokesperson says the 17 suspects are still detained at Nkose Landing site waiting to be transferred to Kalangala Central Police Station. The seventeen were arrested on Thursday as Fish Protection Unit (FPU) conducted an unexpected operation in Mazinga Sub County on Lake Victoria.
Nsubuga says the 17 fishermen were found with illegal fishing gears and suspected poison which they pour in Lake for Nile Patch to die and float. The police officer adds that samples of chemicals they were using are to be taken in laboratories to find out whether it was poison.
Nsubuga has further condemned fishermen who have resumed using illegal fishing methods which he says they are decimating marine life.
Since January, there is tension as dead Nile Perch have continued floating but on being examined, it turns out that their swim bladders are always taken out. The swim bladder of the Nile Perch is sold lucratively to Chinese exporters.
A source familiar with the case of the arrested seventeen says that the detained fishermen were heard discussing their plans while buying fuel in Nkose landing site in night. These men are unknown in Mazinga and it seems they have colleagues whom they are working with, the source said.
Fishermen also still allege that the death of floating fish on Lake Victoria differs from that which occurs seasonally once a year. However fisheries officials have earlier ruled out poisoning as the cause of the mass killing that has seen millions of dead fish floating on the lake since December.