32 engine boats and fishing nets have been burnt in Vitshumbi, North Kivu Province in the Democratic Republic of Congo-DRC.
The illegal fishing gear was destroyed on Monday by marine forces led by John Ngoy, Commander of the 33rd Naval Group on Lake Edward and Eco-guards from the Congolese Institute for the Conservation of Nature (ICCN).
Ngoy says that the destroyed fishing gear was impounded from Vitshumbi landing site, South of Lake Edward. He says that the move was intensified following meetings between Congolese and Ugandan authorities in Kasese District and another in Goma and Kasindi landing sites in North Kivu province.
According to Ngoy, the operation which started on August 12 was conducted after authorities found out that instead of 1,187 canoes to be operating in fishing on the lake, more than 3,000 are operating.
Josué Mukura, the Executive Secretary of the Federation of Individual Fishermen of Lake Edward says that calls on the Congolese government to continue the operations so that the lake remains free of illegal fishermen.
Mukura says that the operations will also be extended to Nyakakoma, Kasindi, and Kyavinyonge landing sites.
Early this month, more than 2,000 illegal fishing boats have been set ablaze by the Uganda Peoples Defense Forces Fisheries Protection Unit. In the same month, 36 Congolese fishermen who illegally entered Uganda to fish on Lake Edward were deported.
They were arrested on separate occasions between March and June this year in Kasese District by Uganda People’s Defense Forces- UPDF attached to the marine unit.