Fisheries & Aquaculture Bill, 2022
Gov’t Backs Off Army Deployment On Lakes.
The Parliamentary committee of Agriculture has reached a consensus with the ministry of Agriculture to back off proposal to militarize the lakes and other water bodies across the country, by agreeing to have the Ministry of Agriculture oversee enforcement of responsible fishing in the country instead of the army.
This was announced by the ministry of state for fisheries Hellen Adoa while submitting on the Fisheries and Aquaculture bill that was returned by the president.
The shift in the position was revealed by Hellen Adoa, State Minister for Fisheries while appearing before Parliament’s Agriculture Committee that is scrutinizing the Fisheries and Aquaculture Amendment Bill 2021 after President Museveni rejected to sign the bill into law, asking Parliament to reconsider the proposal to have both the Police and Army fight illegal fishing in Uganda
The Minister informed the Committee that the Minister of Agriculture didn’t fail at its duties of monitoring the lake, but trouble begun when the Shs100,000 levy was scrapped off leaving the marine police financially crippled to handle the monitoring of lakes, but if this money is reinstated, deployment of Police and army on the lakes will not be necessary.
On August 18, the president returned the Fisheries and Aquaculture Act 2022 for reconsideration by Parliament citing clause 1 where he wanted the Fisheries Surveillance Unit to be domiciled under UPDF. A section of legislators from the fishing communities welcomed the development.
In the same regard, the committee has conceded to the president’s proposal on clause 4 of the bill which was giving fisheries officers at the district powers to issue licenses to fishermen. But Museveni guided that powers to issue licenses must be left in hands of the Chief Licensing officer at the ministry which the committee has accepted.
But some legislators have dissented from the majority decision saying powers to license artisanal fishermen should be decentralized to district Fisheries officer because many can’t come to Kampala to chase for licenses.
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