Fish maws more valuable than oil -MPs

Dried fish maw stomach (enuuni y'encu). Internet photo

The Member of Parliament for Bubulo East County, Mr Apollo Masika, has called upon the government to emphasise more on fish maws than oil exploration.

A fish maw also known as a swim bladder is a white hard membrane found inside the body of the Nile Perch fish.

During his Covid-19 update speech on Tuesday, President Yoweri Museveni hinted on the value of fish maws in the international market prompting Mr Masika to throw more light on them.

The legislator says that findings he got from the research in which he was involved indicate that fish maws are more valuable than oil which is always depleted once production begins.

Uganda discovered vast oil reserves in the Albertine Graben including the districts of Hoima, Buliisa and Nwoya.

“I have ever been involved in the research on fish maws and I think that these can be more valuable than oil exploration. Unlike oil which can be depleted, fish maws is a resource that can forever fetch money for Uganda if government can establish its value”, he says.

Information from some fish maws exporters show that a kilogramme of a small-sized fish maw costs Shs160,000 on the local market while a kilogramme of medium-sized maws costs between Shs350,000 and Shs800,000.

A large maw weighing over a kilogramme costs up to Shs1 million, while on the international – especially Chinese market, it costs between Shs1,66m and Shs3.69m.

With that information, Mr Masika says that President Museveni could have been misinformed since the value he stated was much lower than what is available.

Although information is scanty about fish maws, reports say that on top of being a delicacy in the Asian nations, it is used to make drugs, plane parts and surgical threads.

Mr Masika is supported by the Member of Parliament for Bukooli Island County, Mr George Abbot Ouma who says that fishermen on lakes are arrested for being in possession of fish maw, few people know where it is sold.

The MPs, therefore, want a halt on the sale of that popular fish organ until government establishes the real value of fish maws.

The speaker of Parliament, Ms Rebecca Alitwala Kadaga, calls on government to investigate the matter.

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