Vice President Edward Kiwanuka Ssekandi has emphasised the importance of Uganda’s fresh water bodies as a source of livelihood to the community.
He added that President Museveni instituted a Fisheries Protection Force to curb criminal gangs on lakes, and eliminate bad fishing practices.
The Vice President further pointed out that Government is considering amending the Fisheries Act to provide for harsher punishment to those undermining the economy through illegal fishing practices.
Speaking during the launch of Federation of Fish Traders and Transporters Associations Uganda at Pope Paul Memorial Hotel in Kampala on Friday, the Vice President said that water bodies are bringing in only US$123 Million per annum due to under exploitation of marine tourism, water pollution and bad fishing methods.
Vice President Edward Ssekandi reiterated the need to conserve fish species from extinction by avoiding the use of illegal fishing gear.
The Vice President urged the Federation to primarily promote responsible fishing, ethical production and conduct during harvesting, transportation, processing and trading of fisheries resources.
State Minister for Sports and Workers MP, Charles Bakabulindi, called on fish transporters to maintain quality standards in transporting fish products so as to guarantee the market for their products.
The Director of Fisheries resources, Ministry of Agriculture Animal Husbandry and Fisheries, Dr. Rukunya Edward said that time has come to guard against the total death of water bodies to benefit the future generation.
He added that Uganda has a potential to harvest 1 million metric tonnes from aquaculture and 700,000 metric tonnes from Lake Fisheries and added that government suspended the Beach Management Units for abetting crimes on lakes in the country.
The function was also addressed by Kanyana Ezra, chairman of Fish Traders and Transporters Association for Uganda.