Govt vows to intensify illegal fishing war

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THE government has said that it will impose tougher measures that might include the introduction of mobile courts and military intervention to eliminate illegal fishing and destruction of Lake Victoria waters and its resources.

Vice-President Samia Suluhu Hassan hinted about the measures on Thursday after she received reports on the alarming acts of illegal fishing.

The vice-president spoke tough against the destruction of the environment of the lake saying:” These acts will not be tolerated any further and my office will institute strict punitive measures against the individuals involved.”

According to VP Samia, fighting illegal fishing and other acts of destruction will become a national agenda instead of leaving the battle against criminals to be waged by the affected regions alone.

“We are witnessing a sharp decrease in revenue from the fishing industry as opposed to the past and that scenario should be dealt with henceforth. The government will provide every support possible in this noble crusade,” stressed the VP.

The Vice-President was on her way back after completing the official six days tour she earlier made in Mwanza and Mara regions where among other activities she officiated at the climax of the World Environmental Day marked in Butiama village last week.

Apart from promising tough action on illegal fishing yesterday, Ms Hassan led the exercise of torching over 5,600 inferior fishing nets used previously in different illegal practices.

Making a brief presentation, the Mwanza Regional Commissioner (RC) Mr John Mongela, said that for the last ten years, the region collected over 39.1bn/- as different revenues from the fish exports and collected over 1bn/- from local fishing industries.

He said in 2015/2016 a total of 17,128 illegal fishing gear worth 2.1bn/- were impounded while 19,053 under slots worth 97m/-, some 83 fishing boats were seized across the region.

A total of 131 fishermen were arrested. From July 2016 to March 2017 a total of 15,015 units of illegal fishing gear worth 1.7bn/- were seized while under slots of 30,822 kg worth 155m/-, some 104 boats and 100 suspects were impounded and arrested and charged accordingly.

“All these malpractices in the sector caused massive loses including loss of employments and revenues and I wish to report here that some of our officials behind the evil practices were held accountable,” said Mr Mongela.

The RC pleaded for more support from the central government that would lead to the introduction of mobile courts so that the suspects could be prosecuted and sentenced on the spot failure of which they drop the exhibits resulting into the courts setting them free.

Apart from the mobile courts, Mr Mongela also asked for a go ahead so that the military operations could be deployed in confronting illegal fishing in Lake Victoria.

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