VICE-PRESIDENT Dr Phillip Mpango has called on fishermen to refrain from illegal fishing; instead they should support the government’s efforts in protecting water bodies for the country to benefit more from the blue economy.
He also asked local government authorities to take strong measures in curbing leakages of revenues being collected and ensure proper supervision of development projects on various sectors.
The VP made the call on Friday during his tour of Ukerewe District, Mwanza Region, saying the government will continue putting strategies and allocating budget for implementation of various development projects in a move to improve access to social services.
The Vice-President noted that illegal fishing has a huge impact on the economy, natural resources and environment such as decline in fish production.
Scientific research conducted in Lake Victoria in 2021 through Lake Victoria Fisheries Institution showed that Nile perch species fish have dropped from 1,024,623 tonnes in 2020 to 499,398 tonnes in 2021, which is equivalent to 50 per cent.
During his tour, Dr Mpango also launched the 1.1bn/- worth Ukerewe Secondary School located at the Kagunguri Ward, where he asked the President’s Office Regional Administration and Local Government (PORALG) government officials in Ukerewe District to ensure the school is equipped with relevant infrastructure for Physics laboratory.
The schools would also be used as a vehicle of implementation of the government strategy on development science and technology by putting in place infrastructure for Information and Communication Technology.
“I’m urging all parents and guardians to ensure their children are making better use of the education infrastructure that the government is making, the aim is to enable the country to have enough manpower that will have multiple knowledge,” he said.
Dr Mpango also inspected the progress of construction of the Igala Health Centre that is being built at a cost of 492m/-, where he instructed on timely completion of the facility.
“Construction of this health centre should be complete by December 20, ready for installment of all the machines and equipment. The centre should start providing services by February 2023.
Last week, Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa directed regional and district secretariats and other government executives to ensure that they contain illegal fishing practices in their respective areas.
He said that the task to contain illegal fishing must be overseen by leaders from regional to village levels, stressing that they will be assessed based on the supervision and safety of fisheries resources.
Majaliwa directed that each District Executive Director (DED) should set aside 5 per cent of their revenue generated from the fisheries sector for strengthening the safety of fisheries resources based on government guidelines.
“Illegal fishing can be contained if all people engaged in the sector can adhere to the country’s laws, policies and regulations,” he said.
He underscored that regular meetings to remind fishermen on sustainable fishing, the use of authorised fishing equipment, regular patrol by police and environmental conservation are crucial in curbing illegal fishing.
“Illegal fishing such as the use of monofilament nets, 90 watts battery and solar powered bulb which emit intense heat radiation, harvesting fishes below six inches and the like affect in the fishery sector,” he said.
Adding; “Currently, the fisheries sector contributes 18 per cent of the national Gross Domestic Product (GDP) with 5 million people employed in the sector, ending illegal fishing is a must in order to scale up our economic growth”.