Shadow Minister of Agriculture Dr Abed Bwanika has opposed a proposal that seeks to diminish the role of veterinarians in the fisheries sector.
Bwanika was responding to concerns yesterday from academics at Makerere University, Busitema University and Entebbe Fisheries Institute, who were appearing before Parliament to give their views on the Fisheries and Aquaculture Bill of 2021 recently filed.
During the meeting, Dr Jackson Efitre, Senior Lecturer in Zoology, Entomology and Fisheries Sciences at Makerere University, expressed concern over section 83 of the bill which seeks to give veterinarians discretionary power. on fish processing protocols.
“Madam President, the issue of veterinarians working in the fisheries sector has always been controversial. We have nothing against our good honorable Bwanika, ”noted Efitre.
Instead of leaving this role entirely to veterinarians, he said “the fisheries officer should build a multidisciplinary team of veterinary professionals and fisheries health experts so that he can build on these experiences.”
The clause in question states; “A person or establishment should not obtain veterinary therapeutic products and medicinal premixes for inclusion in fish feed unless their use is approved by the responsible fisheries officer in consultation with the chief veterinarian. “
According to the drafters of the bill, the Director General of Fisheries will be the Technical Head of the Fisheries Resources Directorate and will be appointed by the Civil Service Commission (CFP). It is also responsible for issuing fishing licenses and permits.
For his part, however, Dr Abed Bwanika, himself a veterinarian, told fellow MPs that the inclusion of veterinarians in the fishing industry was no coincidence.
“We (vets) are doing a few little studies on fish to understand the anatomy and a few little things about physiology to help us understand,” he argued.
“Unless you want to convince this committee that fishing and aquaculture are all around you, including diseases that you can manage on your own,” Bwanika added.