Crackdown on taking of immature fish in Uganda's lakes causing controversy
Monday, February 10, 2003
The Monitor (Kampala, Uganda) by Aggrey Rainher Ojon
Fish exports have fallen below target in the past year following the introduction of a campaign to stop the harvesting of immature fish by fishermen in Uganda's lakes.
The Uganda Fish Processors and Exporters Association admits that as much as one quarter of the fish harvested and exported had been immature.
The Association had hoped to register exports of $100m. Instead it saw exports rise from $7m to $85m.
Yogesh Grover is the chairmen of the association.
"The year 2002 was not very bad, but at the same time we did not achieve the $100m dollar target for the year. The major reason is that we acted very strongly on depletion of stock so that the resource can be maintained in the Lake Victoria and other lakes," he told Money Monitor from his office on Gayaza road Feb 5.
However, Ugandan fish exports are fetching a higher price, with the price of Nile Perch nearly 20% higher than in 2001.
Hopes are high that exports will increase if fish processors and exporters get the ISO certification, which establishes that this fish is of a certain standard.
There are nine registered fish processing factories operating in Uganda today.
"New factories are coming up, particularly this year, and one is set to be established in the border point of Busia. We want to make sure that this enables our fish to remain in Ugandan factories and not Kenya. We shall then get more foreign exchange," he said.
The chairman of the fish exporters' association noted that $15m aid from the African Development Bank (ADB)" will contribute substantially towards improving the facilities at the landing sites, although government should ensure it is put to use quickly."
Uganda exports approximately 220,000 tonnes of fish every year.
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