UGANDA – The Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) with partnership funding from the Commonwealth Standards Network has developed new guidelines to streamline the country’s fishing industry.

According to UNBS, the new guidelines outline basic information on the laws, regulations, procedures, and principles for addressing the safety and quality of fish products.

The guidelines also stipulate various measures on the appropriate fishing gears, handling, processing, transport, storage, preservation methods and marketing of fish.

Speaking during the handover of the guidelines document, UNBS deputy executive director in charge of standards, Ms Patricia Bageine Ejalu said they will enable the country attain global standards to allow access to international markets

“As UNBS, we want to improve on the quality of products in Uganda especially fish; much as we are focusing on export market, we must make sure that what the standard in Uganda meets both national and international market.

“Let’s look at national product available and that exported and therefore we must meet standards by improving local products and make sure we maintain the export of fish,” she said.

The Commonwealth Standards Network team leader for Africa, Mr Graham Holloway said the initial project funded by the United Kingdom department for International Development is meant for Uganda and Zambia.

“We aren’t producing Common Wealth Standards but encouraging Common Wealth countries to train themselves how to produce quality by learning more on how to use standards that’s why we partnered with UNBS.

“We wanted to assist real people with real problems of getting their products to market, getting good price for their products which comes with quality,” he explained.

Ms Patricia noted that the documented set will be submitted to the ministry of agriculture for distribution during sensitization campaigns among fishing communities across the country.

In addition, the government says the guidelines will be made available in both English and local languages – suitable for different fishing communities, for easy comprehension and implementation, reports The Monitor.

The fisheries industry is the second largest foreign exchange earner, contributing 2.6 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and 12 per cent to agricultural GDP.

According to Ministry of Agriculture records, Uganda has a fish capture potential of 750,000 tonnes annually compared to the current production of 461,000 tonnes and 100,000 tonnes from aquaculture.