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Fishermen decry lack of transport due to floods

By Wek Atak Kacjang

Fishermen across the areas of Bor town the capital of Jonglei State that were supported by Food Agriculture Organization (FAO) said that severe floods had affected their business due to lack of transportation of their fish from river to market in the State.

A number of fishermen in Jonglei State reported that they experienced the worst floods for the first time in over 50 years which led to massive displacement and deaths. The fishermen expressed that the floods led to flourishment for fish business as supplies rise for several fish vendors and residents.

Speaking to Juba Monitor in Bor, Secretary General for Fishermen Ayuen Philip Mathiang said that the issue of transportation from river to market has become major challenge because there was no proper good road for them to take a fish to the main market.

“We have four center for fishing as well, Gak Yuom, Thony, Mayen and Yuai, but it is difficult for us to transport that fish to market. We fishermen we admitted the rising floodwaters in parts of the state have contributed to high fish production, hence our business is successful,”Mathiang said.

He added that he started fishing three years ago. In Bor, there were plenty of fish.The fishermen received several boats full of fish from the northern parts of the town. they buy big quantities for resale before the boats proceeded to Juba and transportation was major challenge.

He revealed that the life had yet to improve as he recovered from the impact of the month-long flooding.

“We are still struggling to fix our lives back to normalcy after the floods. So, there is no big improvement on my side despite the business. For example, we pay a lot of money to get good fresh fish, but despite the challenge, I can feed my children,” he said.

He added that across Bor town markets, the price of a sizable fish has dropped from 200, 500 up to 1,000 or more to 1,500 SSP.

Another fisherman, Karim Akol Majok Aker  said that he earned about 1,000 SSP daily and reserved the surplus fish for family consumption, but the government intervention was needed for them to thrive.

“Here, we have lack of refrigerators. As you can see, we sell our fish by the roadside. Again, we cannot get enough fish for resale because we lack money. So, we need help,”Aker said.

He added that fishing was common among communities in Jonglei State and was practiced to provide families for food and incomes.

He revealed that this year had seen an explosion in fish population due to the floods.Flooding increased fish production in the areas of the Jonglei Canal.

“The number of fish increased this year with a big size. If you set your net at the right fish channel, you could get 40 fish. If you have more than two nets, then you will go for more than 100,” he said.The fisherman said that his life was slowly improved despite the market flooded with cheap fish.

The supply was high, but the demand was low because no one bought. So fish had to be dried, or transported to Yuai, Bor, and Juba. Actually the issue of transport was a major problem for them, especially his fellow colleagues fishing in DukPadiet and other areas except for those fishermen in swampy areas accessible by boats.

Jonglei State is one of the largest freshwater ecosystems in the State, extending from Mangalla in Central Equatoria State to Sobat River in the Upper Nile region, and is home to large fish populations.

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