By Ivan Ssenabulya
Buvuma country Member of Parliament Robert Migadde has asked the government to revise the Fisheries and Aquaculture Amendment Bill, to provide lighter and enforceable sentences.
The bill was re-tabled before parliament with the Agriculture and Fisheries Committee currently soliciting ideas from stakeholders.
The bill contains a 7-year imprisonment for people who engage in the immature fish trade, 8-year imprisonment, or a fine of Shs 200 milion for people who engage in harmful fishing such as the use of poisonous substances.
The legislator from the island district says the punishments are too harsh and unenforceable, aimed at pushing the community from the business instead of regulation.
On the controversial alleged ban on local consumption of Nile Patch, the MP appealed to the government to promote local consumption because the business employs over 90% of women.
He says that the move is aimed at monopolizing the exportation of fish maw which is on-demand on the international market.
Migadde insists that no ordinary Ugandans export fish, but only well-connected people to the government.
He cited exploitation already in the fishing industry, where a kilogram of fish maw goes for Shs 1.5M on the international market but is being bought at Shs 200,000 in Uganda.
The State Minister for Fisheries however refuted the media reports of banning local consumption of Nile perch.
Hellen Adoa maintained that Uganda consumes 72% and exports 28%, but the government is working towards increasing local consumption to 80% and decreasing export by 20% by 2030.