The National Government through the Ministry of Fisheries, Agriculture and the Blue Economy in partnership with the Ugandan government has resolved to establish a Multi-Agency team to ensure smooth evacuation of fish from Kenya to the Democratic Republic of Congo(DRC).

The Kenyan delegation was led by the Principal Secretary for Fisheries Dr Francis Owino and his East African Community counterpart Dr Kevit Desai while Uganda was led by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries General David Kasura Kyomukana.

During a bilateral meeting that followed a joint visit of Lodwar and Turkana counties to improve the transit of fish from Lake Turkana to DRC, Kenyan traders and fishermen submitted their concerns to the committee.

Traders through Mr Hassan Omari requested for compensation of the losses they incurred following the seizure of their lorries headed to DRC by Uganda authories on claims of trading undersize fish.

Fishermen through Mr Sylvester Kaywa requested the government to intervene and bring to an end harassment of Kenyan fishermen.

They also appealed for harmonization of fishing permits within East African borders.

In his response General Kasula suggested that Kenya and Uganda should organize a joint police enforcement patrols in Lake Victoria to curb the issue of use of illegal fishing gears by the fisherfolk.

He agreed that there is a dire need for the harmonization of fishing permits to ease operations along the borders.

He also promised that his Government will accord all the required cooperation to ensure a prosperous fish trade in East Africa.

After successful engagements, the committee through PS Dr Owino agreed to establish a multi-agency team in the counties that surround Lake Turkana to ensure smooth transit of fish from the region to DRC once requisite procedures have been established.

This include non-tempering of consignment seals from point of origin to DRC.

They also agreed to establish similar mechanism in Busia Kenya to ensure that the fish leaving Busia to DRC arrives without interference by the Government of Uganda.

The team agreed that the Kenyan government through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will do a formal request to Uganda government on compensation of the affected traders within one week from the day of the meeting.

On behalf of Busia Governor H.E Sospeter Ojaamong, the County Executive for Agriculture Dr Osia Mwanje appealed to the Multi-Agency committee once constituted to ensure that they find a lasting solution that can help traders in the region engage actively in the entire fish value chain without interference.

“I confirm that the Kenyan Government is committed to arresting fishermen who will be found using illegal gears during fishing expedition,” he said.

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