EAC eyes increased fisheries contribution in economy

DEPUTY Minister for Livestock and Fisheries Mr David Silinde has appealed to member states of the Lake Victoria Fisheries Organisation (LVFO) to partner with relevant authorities responsible for industries, trade and statistics to ensure the contribution of the fishing sector is clearly visible in the GDP of each country.

Mr Silinde made the call in Kampala, Uganda while opening the fifth meeting of the Council of Ministers in charge of Fisheries and Aquaculture LVFO which took place recently.

According to him, the contribution of the fisheries sector seems to be minimal due to the fact that fishery products are counted as agricultural and produced along with other products in the value chain of other sectors.

He, however, noted that illegal fishing and overfishing was endangering the sustainable existence of fishing resources and fish spawning in Lake Victoria, calling on stakeholders to prioritise security.

Elaborating further, he highlighted reports that indicate the number of Nile perch decreased by 33 per cent in 2021 and 2022, adding that LVFO member states should not allow the malpractices to continue since the effects are serious, especially for the many millions of lives that depend on the lake.

The minister noted that fishing is among economic activities that contribute to the country’s GDP, however minimal. It also contributes to the wellbeing of people in general.

Besides, the Lake is also responsible for the provision of water for domestic use and supports various economic activities including fishing and the development of aquatic species in the countries.

“It is clear that these two sub-sectors are very important for economic growth in all our countries and you will agree with me that fishing in the lake provides jobs, food, income for families and enables those families to live together and provides the country with foreign currency.  Therefore it is necessary to keep our eyes open to ensure their sustainability,” he said.

Mr Silinde used the meeting to applaud the LVFO Secretariat and its member states for supporting the implementation of the programme and fisheries sector among others.

“Major steps have been recorded in the implementation of key directives of the Council of Ministers, such is exemplified through the number of projects. This is a clear manifestation of a vibrant Secretariat,” stated the Minister.

The minister acknowledged the good work performed by the Coordinating Committee led by the Permanent Secretaries, especially in preparing  the paperwork, thereby simplifying the work of the ministers during the meeting itself.

In the meeting, Tanzania handed over the baton of the chairmanship to Uganda, congratulating them for taking the position, He wished the successor a good implementation of its responsibilities, particularly in protecting fishery resources in Lake Victoria.

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