Kasese District fisheries sector.
Mandate of the fisheries sector:
To Support , promote fish initiatives that lead to increased fish production from both capture/ lake and pond fish farming in the district.
Kasese district fisheries resource base.
The fisheries resource base for the district is dependent on three major water bodies George (area 230Km2) , Edward and the Kazinga channel. Fishing constitutes the major economic livelihood and a source of food security for majority of the people in the rift valley part of Kasese district. Over 20,000 people depend on the fishery of Lake George and the Kazinga channel while an estimated 15,000 (Uganda part) depend on Lake Edward for their livelihood.
Trends in fish production of lake george and edward
In the late 1960’s Lake George was able to provide enough fish for both local and export market. However fish stocks of the two lakes have continued to decline over years to an estimated average of 5-10kg per fishing expedition which is below the national average of 50-100kg.High population growth and unemployment have increased pressure on the lakes hence increased poaching and fishing effort.
Fishing villages of lakes edward and george
There are 6 landing sites on both lakes i.e Kahendero, Katunguru,Hamukungu,and Kasenyi for L.George,and Katwe Kabatoro and Kayanja for L.Edward (Kasese side),
Fishing effort of lakes george and edward
There is atotal of 328 licensed fishing canoes in kasese; 174 on Lake George and 154 on Lake Edward. Both lakes require only 984 licensed barias, as required for a closed fishery. However there has been an overwhelming increase in the number of illegal boats and gears almost tripling the required numbers especially on landing sites of L.George.All landing sites are characterized by use of destructive fishing gears, (Nets mesh size < 4.5”, traps etc.) and methods. The most affected sites are Kahendero, Hamukungu,and Kasenyi.
Fishing methods of lakes george and edward
The fishing methods used on lakes George and Edward include: Gill netting, basket trapping, hand lining, and Long lining,
Bad fishing methods used on lake george and edward
The commonly used destructive methods on the two lakes include; gill netting by use of nets mesh size less than 4.5 inches, Harpoons (Kikubo) and Dragging of nets( Kiharo).
Main Challenges of the fisheries sector.
- Limited funding to ensure sustainable monitoring control and surveillance/patrols.
- Increased number of illegal boats owned by barias who use small sized destructive nets in breeding grounds at the periphery of the lake
- Leadership of BMU committees being dominated by barias (30%) whose main aim is to maximize fishing and not conservation of the resource.
- 24 hour fishing regimes ( fishing is done on the 24 hour basis and fish has no peace to even breed)
- Cross boarder fishing conflicts between Congolese and Ugandan fishermen on lake Edward.
- Irresponsible fishers & local leaders with poor attitudes on resource ownership (thinking that the lake belongs to the fisheries department) therefore the more government destroys illegal gears &boats much more destructive ones are then bought and put in.
- Lack of patrol equipments like patrol boats making it hard to track illegal fishers on both lakes
The sector is improving the fisheries in the district through the following
- Carrying out lake patrols and so far 30000 nets and 154 boats and traps were destroyed on landing sites of Kahendero and Kasenyi between June 2011- July 2014.
Training of stake holders on low cost cage construction in katunguru fish landing site kasese district
Some of the impounded illegal nets on board during a patrol on lake George.
- Train a total of 64 BMU committee members on lakes George and Edward in fisheries management, fisheries laws.
The training was conducted for two days at Kahendero fish landing site. The exercise was participatory involving group demonstration exercises for the participants as shown above in the pictures.
BMU committee Kayanja Left: Right BMU Katunguru during the trainings at their landings.
Left Secretary production giving closing remarks during BMU training at Kayanja fish landing. Right; principal fisheries officer demonstrates to participants in Kasenyi fish landing site.
Right principal fisheries officer emphasizing management issues in Kasenyi fish landing site during the BMU training
Masika Slyvia laboring with data collection methods in Hamukungu Fish landing site.
ROAD PATROLS HAVE ALSO BEEN YIELDING IN REDUCING IMMATURE FISH TRADE BUT HOWEVER NOT SUSTAINABLE
Between April –June 2014,2,200 kg of immature fish have been impounded by the district staff along Kasese Mbarara road and disposed off by order of court to various schools and the prisons