Over 1000 starving fishermen leave Lake Albert

Fishing boats dock at Kaiso landing site in Buseruka Sub-county, Hoima District recently. (File photo)

More than 1,000 fishermen from Hoima, Kikuube and Buliisa Districts in Bunyoro Sub-region have left various landing sites at the Lake Albert shoreline citing starvation.

This follows the suspension of fishing activity for commercial purposes in March this year to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Security officials in the region said they suspended the fishing activity because some Ugandan fishermen cross to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) mixing with fishermen there, thus, exposing themselves to coronavirus.

Although the fishermen protested the suspension, security operatives insisted that the directive stands until the situation normalises.

The suspension consequently impacted negatively on the fishermen’s livelihood since fishing is their main economic activity.

The suspension has resulted in the fishermen vacating the landing sites saying they cannot afford getting even a single meal.

Kijangi, Kaiso, Rwentale, Fofo and Kiryamboga in Buseruka sub-county are the most affected landing sites in Hoima district while Bugoma in Kyangwali sub-county and Senjojo and Kyehorro in Kabwoya sub-county all in Kikuube district have been affected.

In Buliisa district, Butiaba, Bugoigo, Sonsio and Walukuba are among other landing sites that have been affected.

Seventy-year-old Mr Gilbert Opoka who has been fishing at Kaiso landing site since 1985 says he was forced to leave the landing site because he had nothing to eat. He added that many families at the lake shore are starving.

“If government does not allow us to resume fishing, we shall continue starving because we don’t have any other source of income apart from fishing.”

Mr Fathum Ngooyi, a fisherman at Kaiso landing site said he could not continue living at the shoreline since he did not have food for survival.

 ‘I have five children and two wives to look after. I don’t have any other activity to fetch me income so that I can fend for my family. Therefore, I have decided to vacate,” he said.

Mr Robert Gingyera, a fisherman at Mbegu landing site in Kabaale sub-county, Hoima district says some families have resorted to batter trade exchanging their clothes for food.


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