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Uganda signs swim bladder deal with China

25 January 2020, at 8:00am

Uganda is due to start the direct export of fish products - including the swim bladders of Nile perch - to China, following the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the two nations.

The deal refers specifically to the swim bladders, known as “fish maw”, of Nile perch which can fetch up to US $1000 per kg, and are believed to be an aphrodisiac by many Chinese. The trade in the bladders from Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda is estimated to be worth $86 million a year.

Uganda produces up to 447,020 tonnes of fish a year, including 86,463 tonnes of Nile perch
Uganda produces up to 447,020 tonnes of fish a year, including 86,463 tonnes of Nile perch

“Our estimated annual export will be 520 tonnes of fish maw and about 36,000 tonnes of Nile perch headless gutted,” said Minister for Fisheries, Hellen Adoa, during a meeting with fish maw processors and traders at the Directorate of Fisheries in Entebbe this week.

According to the Daily Monitor, the minister also warned that the deal means fish maw processors will have to meet more stringent standards.

“As the new minister, I am not going to be soft to anyone, and those that don’t meet our standards, will have their factories closed,” Ms Adoa said.