PAKWACH. The fishing community in Pakwach town council, Pakwach district is counting loses following the rapid invasion of water hyacinth on the Albert Nile.

The hyacinth that persisted for the last four months has now stretched to about 7 km thus affecting fishing on the Nile in Pakwach.

According to the fishermen at Jabowiyelwet landing site, the hyacinth has eventually narrowed the river.

They wondered why government is taking long to act on the hyacinth since the weeds have become a threat to their livelihood.

Mr Patrick Jumanayal, a fisherman at the site said several fishing gears have got entangled in the area due to the catchment of the weed.

"It's four months now that no explanation has been given to us by any person in government. We are wondering where this water weed has come from and as a result, most fishermen are just worried," he said.

Jumanayal urged local leaders to come out and sensitise the fishermen on how to mitigate associated dangers of predators like pythons and big snakes harboured by the weeds as government continues seeking for a long-term solution

"Proper reflector jackets should be given to fishermen to avoid accident especially at night and let there also be public announcements to create awareness," he suggested.

On contrary, Mr Benjamin Opio, another fisherman said the coming of the hyacinth is good on grounds that the weeds will protect hippopotamus from extinction by poachers.

"Our wild life animals are at rest due to these Papyrus plants on the water and even now, the poachers can't easily cross the other side of the river to hunt for them. To me, this is a natural protection to the animals," he said.

Opio, however, cautioned fellow fishermen planning to burn the water hyacinth not to dare, saying the act endangers the aquatic life.

But Mr Michael Oloya, the Pakwach district production officer said the water hyacinth invasion is due to the heavy rains.

He confirmed that the district is incapacitated to urgently tackled the problem.

Oloya added that sensitization drive to the fishermen is necessary to avert fears related to the invasion.