Several fishermen and residents on Kalunga landing site in Kyarulangira sub-county in Rakai district are stranded following a decision by the authorities to temporarily close the landing site citing illegal fishing practices.
The landing site is the main source of livelihood for residents in Nkundi, Kalunga, Lugenda, Lwambajjo, Namunengo, Kigavu, Kisovu, Lusambya, Kawenda, Kizinga and Mayenga among others.
The trouble stems from the disappearance of part of Lake Kijanebarora in May last year leaving a small shallow water body. On Thursday, Rakai authorities went back to inspect the water body and advised fishermen to relocate to other landing sites until the situation normalises.
Judith Nabisere, one of the affected residents, says that the closure of the landing site has worsened the misery of her life. She explains that she used to cook food and her clients were mainly fishermen but most of them relocated to other landing sites.
Jonathan Mugumya, one of the stranded fishermen, says they have been struggling to feed their families since lake Kijanebarora disappeared but the situation has worsened after the closure of the landing site.
Madina Nansereko, another affected resident, says that they are mistreated by the fish guard who was deployed at the landing site to restrict fishing. She appealed to the authorities to allow them to look for mudfish to feed their families and service their loans.
Bashir Kaggwa, one of the affected elders, says that the majority of residents at Kalunga landing site have spent more than 20 years with the lake as the source of their livelihoods.
Joseph Mugumya, the Fisheries Officer In-charge of Kooki County, confirmed the closure of the land site, saying it may take more than three months to reopen it. He explains that they restocked the available portion of the lake with some tilapia to boost fish production at the landing site and around the affected communities.
He says that they deployed a fish guard to monitor the water body and restrict fishing to allow the fish to grow. According to Mugumya, only seven out of more than 30 fishermen have been allowed to stay at the landing in the meantime.