Fishermen and dealers in Buikwe, Buvuma, and Mukono districts have appealed for amendments in the Fisheries and Aquaculture Bill, 2021 regarding the licenses, charges, and penalties.
The Bill that was tabled in Parliament last year, seeks to consolidate and reform the law relating to the management of fisheries products and aquaculture due to emerging issues in the regulation and management of the sector.
According to the Bill, anyone who conspires with another person to contravene any of the provisions of the Act commits an offense and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding Sh 20 Million and imprisonment not exceeding five years, or both.
Stanley Wadimba, a fisherman at Buvuma says the bill is aimed at amplifying the brutality of people depending on the lake.
He wonders why fishermen with expired licenses should be arrested, detained, and charged before the court at the same time and the boat impounded.
The bill also prohibits the sharing of licenses among boat operators, a fisherman is licensed to fish one type of fish.
Lydia Namuswe, a silverfish dealer, says the bill should be revised or dropped.
She says that the Bill does not address the size of fishing gear, the number of people to operate a fishing boat, and the proper channels of storing fish.
The fishermen also want the powers of the Fisheries officers reduced, allow local governments to gazette landing sites, stop the army from carrying out monitoring roles, and leave such roles to the marine police.
The Chairperson of Buikwe, Jimmy Kanaabi, and Adrian Ddungu of Buvuma equally believe the licensing procedures for fishermen, dealers, and the storage of fish should be addressed in the bill.
The Parliamentary Committee Chairperson, Janet Okorimoi says that the views of the fishermen will be scrutinized.