Even though this looks like a pile of trash floating in the ocean, it’s actually much much more than that. This is Migingo, a tiny rock island. It is less than half an acre or about half the size of a football field. Although tiny in size, the island is home to 131 people (according to 2009 census) living in crammed huts made of corrugated sheets and wood. The reason why is that the fishing is so good there.
This is the tiny island of Migingo where 131 fisherman live.
The rich stock of Nile Perch in the waters around Migingo Island has lead to territorial dispute between the two countries – Uganda and Kenya, both of which lay claim to the island.
Trouble started on the island when pirates first heard that fishermen were making $300 a day, which was approximately three or four times what many people in East Africa earn in an entire month on dry land, they flocked to the island and stole fish, cash and engines.
More than 100 boats bring in their catch every morning to this little island for weighing, then they sell it to buyers. After fish processing firms buy what they need, the fish is transported to the Kenyan mainland.
Interestingly, there is a much larger island called Usingo just 200 meters to the east of Migingo Island that remains uninhabited.
Two fisherman arrived first back in 1991.
It’s in the middle of Lake Victoria and it’s packed.
Even though no one technically owns it, people have made it their home.
Entry permits and taxes were introduced on fishermen that hoped to cash in on the newly discovered fishing grounds. Boats and fishing nets belonging to Kenyan fishermen are regularly confiscated by Ugandan forces for fishing on Uganda’s territorial waters.
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