My assignment to cover fishing in Uganda started with a visit to Gaba landing site. I made several trips to the site, meeting with the officials managing the place. Each time, it was not possible to interview them given the tight schedules for both the fishermen and the officials. I was advised to go back on a Sunday when there was less activity at the sight.
On the Sunday we had planned to meet, the heavy down pour forced us to cancel the plans. I went back the following Sunday. The site was not as busy as it was on week days. Upon arrival, I went to the KCCA offices at the landing site and talked to Isabirye Juma, the officer fisheries KCCA. It is him that I had met with on a number of occasions when I went to the site.
He introduced me to two gentlemen who handle transportation of fish. We talked briefly. They informed me that it was not a good time because there were issues they were dealing with. They advised me to walk around the site and meet real fishermen upon hearing what I was researching about. A number of fishermen were not cooperative since talking to me meant temporarily disrupting their work. They were able to identify types of fish for me and how they were caught. But they were quick to tell me that it was not a good time.
I was about to give up when I found Musisi John, a fisherman who was readying a fishing net for fishing. He told me that he had been fishing since the late eighties. He told me that contrary to what people thought, the population of fish had not gone down. It had actually gone up. It is just that the number of fishermen had gone up and the fishing gear had also improved. So there were more people fishing for the resources than say on the early nineties. He said at the time he joined fishing there was only Gomba fishing company and Nafero, but now there were many.
He took me through the types of nets used for different types of fish, the types of fish caught at Gaba landing site, the sizes of hooks and the general state of fishing. He told me that Nile perch and tilapia are the types of fish mostly caught at the site. He added that islands have changed because this is a job. Fishing techniques have improved even transportation. He gave me a history of fish and promised to be of help when I needed him.
Mulumba Ivan Matthias.
Wikimedia User name: Faintsmoke