Kenyan fishermen on fishing expeditions into Ugandan waters have only one month to pay fees for their vessels or risk immediate arrest- Uganda government has warned.
The new directives have pushed Kenyan fishermen into pleading with their government to initiate talks with Uganda with the aim of repealing the high fishing tariffs it imposes on Kenyans.
Uganda imposes a fee of Rwf600,000 (Ugshs2million) on every foreign vessel on fishing expedition into Ugandan waters.
The fees were imposed on non-citizens by Uganda authorities to discourage fishermen from venturing in its waters.
Last month, about 300 fishermen both from Uganda and Kenya assembled at Lolwe Island at a key stakeholders meeting and this directive was announced to the disbelief of Kenyans.
The fisher folk led by Omena Beach Management Unit Chairperson Felix Musee said “Such regulations defeat the spirit of East Africa Community being spearheaded across the region. We urge the government to expedite the matter so that we have a shared resource that is conflict-free.”
A kenyan official said the regulation is deterrent and we are seeking to talk to Uganda authorities to review it under the East Africa common market protocol.
“We are looking into making business more accommodative to member partner states.”