Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) benefitted from another kind donation of two brand-new Yamaha DT125 motor bikes from the proceeds of 2013 Murchison Falls Invitational Fishing Tournament (MFIFT) which closed on March 9th at the Murchison River Lodge.
The motor bike donations came from Yamaha Uganda and SABMiller plc the parent company of Nile Breweries Limited which also produces the popular Rwenzori Mineral Water. The motor-bikes are to be used by UWA in stepping up patrols against illegal activities in Uganda's largest protected area. The Yamaha bike donated through Toyota was won by Piet de Jong who caught a fish closes to a hidden weight and he kindly on behalf of the fishing competition handed it over to UWA.
Mr. Dino Bianchi, the managing Director of Toyota/Yamaha Uganda, handed over the Yamaha motorbike to Mr. Raymond Engena, the director of Tourism and Business Services who represented the Executive Director UWA. At the same function, Mr. Robin Goetzsche, the Tanzania SABMiller plc MD, pledged a donation of a further motorcycle to UWA. The spontaneous decision was made at the MFIFT event after the SAB Miller team saw how hard UWA was working to protect the flora and fauna within the park for the benefit of domestic and international nature and fishing enthusiasts.
Michael Kegwin of the Uganda Conservation Foundation (UCF) who also donated five patrol bicycles for the law enforcement rangers, said UCF is currently planning the building of further marine ranger posts to give greater coverage in the fight against the poachers and has boosted the veterinary response unit with the provision of a refurbished vehicle and other equipment.
Mr. Engena flanked by the Murchison Falls Conservation Area Manager (CAM) Mr. Tom Okello thanked Georgie More and Peter Baldwin, the organizers of the annual fishing tournament whose proceeds have boosted UWA's conservation efforts as well as promoting Uganda's park as a prime fishing and tourist destination. He offered free special entrance for the MD's of the Sheraton, Nile Breweries Ltd and Toyota Uganda to the park to do sport fishing.
Peter Baldwin of MFIFT stated "Murchison Falls represents one of the last remaining habitats in Africa where Nile perch can be caught, studied and released in a recreational and research capacity. With all the effort UWA makes to conserve wildlife in Uganda, it is natural that we should to do our small part to support them and of course have some fun at the same time. The fact that our sponsors and participants continually support the event every year speaks volumes about what cooperation between the private and public sectors can accomplish. We're already looking forward to next year when we hope to set up a scholarship fund to allow a Ugandan post-graduate student the opportunity to research the aquaculture of Murchison Falls National Park. The findings of such studies could have a positive impact on Ugandan fisheries for years to come."
At the end of the exhilarating three-day event which attracted over 48 fishermen from different countries in Africa and Europe, a grand total of 576.3kgs of fish was caught. The largest individual Nile perch weighed 80kgs and was caught by Seamus Gunton from BAT Uganda on Day 2. Seamus emerged the overall winner with a total catch in three days of 96.7kgs, followed very closely by Gustaf Brew who managed a total catch of 92.4kgs including a 57kg Nile perch. Steve Dunbar of Microsoft UK emerged third overall with a total catch of 90.4kg . of which 55kg was a re – caught tagged fish which was very exciting as it is the first tagged fish to be re caught.
Like in 2012, this year's event attracted a four-man team from Uganda Wildlife Authority led by Welbone Ojara who caught the largest fish of the last day weighing 48.8kg and a three man team from the neighboring community in order to appreciate fishing as not only a source of protein but a recreational activity that brings in excess of $100,000 annually to the park of which around UGX65,000,000 comes from the MFIFT.