By Fred Siminyu
Mayuge—3, August 2020: Residents of Bulubude ‘B’ village, Malongo sub-county in Mayuge district on Saturday 1 August, woke up to the sad news when they learned that one of their own had drowned in Lake Victoria the previous night.
The area LC.1 Chairman, Isabirye Lwakala identified the victim as Dan Tusubila, a 30-year-old man who has for a long time been a resident of this village.
“Tusubila went to do fishing as usual, but since he uses a small boat, it is most likely that he was hit by the night storm, and his boat capsized drowning him,” Lwakala said.
Patrick Isabirye, a resident of the same village said, within a fortnight, they had lost two people by drowning in the lake and he attributed it on the failure by residents to comply with government regulations against the use of small boats.
Mayuge District Police Commander, Bashir Siriba, confirmed the incident and said the body had been recovered, and given to the relatives after an autopsy had been performed.
“We have recovered the body, performed a postmortem and handed it over to the relatives for burial as police investigations continue to find out what could have been the actual cause of death,” DPC Siriba added.
He, however, blamed the death on the fact that fishers living on the shores of Lake Victoria have remained adamant and are continuing to use under size boats despite government efforts to fight against the vice.
He said this practice has not only contributed towards the depletion of fish stocks in the lake but also resulted into fatal accidents on the waters.
“Those who use these small boats cannot go into deep waters to fish, so they remain along the shoreline harvesting immature fish; this in turn depletes the lake of its fish stocks,” he said.
Siriba also further explained that small boats had claimed many lives on the Lake due to the presence of strong storms and the big waves which at times capsize the small boats killing the occupants.
He further said since the boats are small, those who use them risk the vulnerability of being snatched and eaten by crocodiles.
President Museveni in 2018 issued a ban regarding illegal fishing and the use of small boats on Lake Victoria.
While commissioning four new marine boats bought by UPDF in partnership with Impala Services from South Africa at the Alice Pier Military base in Entebbe, the President said that small boats of less than 28 feet will not be allowed to operate on the Lake.
He even revealed that government was considering installing radars to monitor the Lake Victoria waters, so as to defend the fishery sector which has a very big potential but destroyed by illegal fishing activities.