Minister Adoa calls for sustainable fisheries as Uganda celebrates World Fisheries Day 2021
Ugandans must practice and promote sustainable fisheries if the future generation is to benefit from the lakes. The call was made by the State Minister for Fisheries Hon. Hellen Adoa, during the celebration of the World Fisheries Day and the 3rd edition of the Jinja Fish Festival in Jinja, on Sunday.
According to minister Adoa, there are several men, women/mothers depending on the lake for income to take care of their families.
“We are celebrating these local small-scale fishers; we need to give attention to them especially this poor woman who looks at the lake as the only source of livelihood. She has no garden, nothing to take her children to school with, she nowhere to get books for her children when she sells this small fish it is what helps her survive, take her children to school, especially now after COVID” the minister said.
She added that if the small-scale fishers do not have any livelihood, then their children will not compete with the rest. Hon. Adoa said that the government is committed to supporting small-scale fishers and that Ugandans should join hands to protect the lake and promote sustainable fisheries.
“We need to support them to see that illegal gears are completely removed from our lakes, but also fish traders that have turned the lake to be only for commercial purposes rather than looking at the consumption of fish, should be taught on how to sustain the lakes. Some of these fish traders don’t know how the lake is sustained” the minister said.
She called for sensitization of fishers who are dying while attempting to run from the Fisheries Protection Unit, to know that the soldiers are on the lakes to protect them and ensure their safety.
“There is a problem now in our lakes that fishers are jumping in the lakes and drowning while running from the Fisheries Protection Unit. The other day I was in Bwende, within three months four people have died. After seeing soldiers, they take off and start swimming. In L. Albert two weeks ago, there was the same problem, and in my own district Serere, I had one of my voters drowning in the lake because of fear of the FPU. I want to tell the fishers that FPU is in the lake not to stop you from eating fish but to help you sustain the lake. But even tomorrow, your child will eat the same fish” she noted.
Adoa called for the fish festival to expand from Jinja and go to L. Albert, Kyoga among others in order to not only celebrate eating fish but also sensitize fishers about sustainable fishing.
She further called upon all Ugandans who may have an input in the current Fisheries and Aquaculture Bill, 2021., which is being discussed by Parliament, to bring their views forward and have them added to the bill.
Ms. Joyce Ikwaput Nyeko Ag. Director Fisheries and Aquaculture Resources in her speech noted that the World Fisheries Day was created and spearheaded by fishermen themselves, working together with Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, in order to recognize the importance and contribution of fisheries not only to the economies of the countries but to the employment and livelihood of the many people that are employed in fisheries.
“Today we are very happy that in Uganda, we are coming back together again to celebrate this day. We want to celebrate the fishermen and fisherwomen that work every day to make sure we have delicious fish. And we want to thank all our partners who have worked together to put this day in place” Nyeko said.
She applauded the GIZ Responsible Fisheries Business Chain for facilitating the activities of the day.
Team Leader GIZ Responsible Fisheries Business Chain Project Adolf Gerstl noted that the fish festival is used to create awareness about the fisheries sector and promote sustainable fisheries, giving all key players in the sector room to exhibit and express their views while explaining their work to Ugandans.
The Fish Festival happens annually as part of the activities of World Fisheries Day. Several players in the business showcase fish and its products, while revelers enjoy different types of fish. On Sunday, the e-fish festival brought together 200 invited guests, while the rest of Ugandans watched online and were able to order fish from different restaurants.