On the 29th April Katosi Women Development Trust (KWDT), member of WFF and of the IPC Working Group on Fisheries, joined other partners to influence legislation on fisheries in Uganda. In partnership with FIAN Uganda and the Network of Public Interest Lawyers (NETPIL), we held a meeting with Members of Parliament from lake regions to express our concerns with the Fisheries and Aquaculture Bill 2021, in hopes that it would exacerbate the appalling state of fisher folk in Uganda.
The strategic legislative meeting brought together a total of 20 members of parliament and 10 other stakeholders including men and women from selected fishing communities, to share their testimonies and express their aspirations on what they would desire to see in the law governing fisheries.
On the 3rd of May, two days after the meeting, the Bill was presented in parliament. A number of their recommendations were considered and the Bill was passed with amendments including removal of the army from management of fisheries and eliminating use of reasonable force by the security operatives in the management of fisheries.
Their engagement preceded use of excessive force by the army to control illegal fishing in Uganda since the year 2017 following a presidential directive. This resulted into evicting a number of fisher people from the fishing activity, sometimes closing landing sites and destroying property and lives.
KWDT will continue to pursue the cause of improving lives of fisher people for betterment of their livelihoods and to ensure sustainable fisheries.