The agriculture ministry will this month table the Fisheries and Aquaculture Bill to Parliament, in a move which the Government is pushing to streamline stakeholder involvement in fisheries management and ensure sustainable fisheries and aquaculture.
If passed by Parliament into law, the Bill, which is a revision of the Fish Act of 2000 Cap 197, is expected to heal problems such as illegal fishing, which has of late become a source of friction between the government and fishing communities.
The law is also expected to regulate, among others, aquaculture activities, management of commercial fishing, fish selling, post-harvest handling, fish transportation, surveillance, and control monitoring of fisheries units among others.
Almost 20% of Uganda’s surface area is covered by freshwaters with various fish species and a high potential for increased fisheries and aquaculture production. If well harnessed, these can generate over 1,000,000 metric tons of fish per annum, according to the agriculture ministry.
“However, underperformance in the capture fisheries, attributed to limited regulation, and enforcement of laws and guidelines has led to continued use of illegal destructive gears that catch immature fish,” said Dr Edward Rukunya, the director of fisheries in the ministry.
“The Bill is part of efforts by the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries to provide an enabling policy and regulatory framework to the stakeholders engaged in fisheries and aquaculture activities.”
The fisheries sector contributes about 12 percent of the agricultural GDP of Uganda and supplies 50 percent of animal proteins consumed in the country