Sport fishing boosts conservation in Murchison Falls

Sport fishing at Murchison Falls National Park
Murchison Falls National Park together with Lake Mburo National Park are the only parks in Uganda where sport fishing can be conducted. Courtesy Photo.

Sport fishing, an activity practiced by tourists visiting Murchison Falls National Park has significantly boosted conservation of wildlife at the park.

Sport fishing is a game in which professional fishermen use artificial baits to catch fish which they later return into the waters after weighing.

Officials of Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) says the game is earning huge Forex for the development of Uganda. The funds come in the forms of fees and donations to the country’s oldest national park.

In early March, some 60 professional fishers concluded sport fishing here after paying USD 200 each in entry fees and caught between 600 and 800 Kilograms of fish which they tagged for research before releasing them back into the wild water.

Jossy Muhangi, the Uganda Wildlife Authority Communications Manager says the activity is mostly practiced annually at the base of the five biggest rapids making up the Murchison Falls in February and March.

The rapids which empty the entire River Nile water through a constricted seven meter narrow gorge plunge four meters deep into a constantly welling pool.

It is this pool downstream that keeps welling up with nutritive young fish and plankton for Cat fish, Tilapia and Nile Perch making some of the catch here weigh as heavy as 120 Kilogram.

Murchison Falls
Murchsion Falls seen from the top in Murchison Falls National Park Plunging Four Meters Deep

The spectacular waterfall is considered the most powerful in the world. It is famous for mountain hiking over the many cliffs dispersed over an estimated 1.5 Kilometer stretch before the spectacular waterfalls where a wet shower is also experienced at the top of the waterfalls, as Muhangi explains.

From these rapids to Albert Delta where the Nile enters Lake Albert, a distance of 40 Kilometers, commercial fishing is strictly prohibited which has attracted illegal fishing at night.

To counter this illegal activity, the national park has acquired some two engine boats, two marine boats and six motorcycles for patrolling the course of the river, thanks to donations from sport fishers visiting the park.