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Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania comes up with a regional action plan to combat Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing in the Lake Victoria

Entebbe, 30th March, 2017 – Today, Uganda, Kenya &Tanzania have agreed on a regional patrol exercise to remove illegal fishing gear and to increase compliance to fisheries regulations and licensing of fishers in the Lake Victoria. This came from a regional meeting in Uganda, organised by the Lake Victoria Fisheries Organization (LVFO) together with the EU funded IOC-SmartFish Programme. 

Representatives from the three riparian countries met this week to discuss how to work on a joint Fisheries Surveillance Plan to mutualize the efforts on the Lake Victoria. After assessing their national assets and means, participants adopted a regional plan of action. 

The joint plan of action is consisting of: Organizing a total of 12 joint patrols which involve the 3 countries, small boat licensing operations, raising awareness and initiating dialogue between national, local authorities and communities and coordination meetings by November 2017.

“Pooling of assets, information and knowledge between different countries enables countries to share surveillance and control of fishing,” said Fanjanirina Jérômine, IOC-SmartFish MCS Assistant during the meeting 

 “We need business unusual to stop illegal fishing on Lake Victoria. We need a data base of MCS operations and IUUs” says Samson Abura, the LVFO Communication Director. 

Indeed, participants of the meeting raised some issues and challenges to be addressed : Lack of collaboration between county and local Governments and Fisheries Management authorities in the three countries, underfunding from Treasures, low involvement of communities fin combating IUU and very low licensing status of vessels. For example, only 0,3% of the vessel in Uganda are licensed. 

During the past four years, the 3 countries have done their best to address illegal fishing on the Lake Victoria : From Jan 2016-2017 patrols resulted into confiscation of  19,250 beach seines, 84,140 kgs of immature fish in Tanzania. Over 300 illegal gears were impounded in 2015/16 in Kenya on Lake Victoria. Tanzania is compliant; 992 has also been trying different enforcement methods for example asking fishers to surrender illegal fishing gears voluntarily. 

As a result of overfishing the LVFO identifies the main threats to sustainability of fisheries from illegal activities as 

• Use of illegal gears including: Capture, transport and processing of immature fish

• Fishing in restricted areas

• Fishing without the necessary permits

• Unregulated trade of Nile perch for Chinese market in dried swim bladders contributes the removal of spawners from the stock

Numerous Joint Fisheries patrols were conducted from 2011 to 2015 on the Lake Victoria. This joint patrol was supported by the IOC-SmartFish Programme with EU funds. The fight against illegal fishing requires political resolve, financial resources, infrastructure, collaboration between stakeholders and especially in a shared resource such as Lake Victoria, efforts in this fight will only be successful with regional cooperation and approaches.

Notes to editors

The IOC-SmartFish Programme is the largest Fisheries Programme in Africa, involving 20 countries In East and Southern Africa as well as the Indian Ocean region. The IOC-SmartFish is managed by the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) and has implemented regional Fisheries surveillance plan in this region. The IOC is a inter-governmental organisation based in Mauritius which promote sustainable development activities through several EU-funded projects. 

The Lake Victoria Fisheries Organization

The LVFO mandate is to manage and develop fisheries and aquaculture in East African Community and its mission is to promote Sustainable Management and Development of Fisheries and Aquaculture in the East African Community for Food Security and Wealth creation. 

For more information : 

sbabura@lvfo.org, Director-IC&T, Lake Victoria Fisheries Organization,  +256 776 859 297

toky.rasoloarimanana@coi-ioc.org, IOC-SmartFish Communication Officer, +23057433661

 
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