The trouble with Migingo is, that you are dealing with artisanal fisherfolk (the equivalent of your small holders..the peasants and the balaalo)…they are the peasants of the waters. They are not even a community as such. Migingo, the rocky acre is just a beachhead for fishing deep inside Bugiri.
The portion of Nalubaale that belongs to Kenya is too shallow for meaningful fishing and this is what YK Museveni has observed, when he emphasizes the point of the waters to the West of the islands. If the brothers in Kenya insist on strict policing of the borders then they will take Migingo, but it will be useless for them, especially if Uganda reciprocates by saying: keep out! Kenyan fishefolk can only fish in Bugiri. Kenya has no lake worth writing home about. Migingo is only useful as a beachhead for fishing in the deeper waters of Southern Bugiri and Mukono, bordering with Tanzania. That is where they get all the fish from.
Note that, the bit of Nalubale that belongs to Kenya is too muddy for fish to thrive. From the bit of military geography of that area that I remember, there are are about 12 rivers that drain into Kenya victoria, depositing a heavy load of soil from the highlands West of the Rift Valley. Fish can not live there…except may be a bit of Nile Perch. When Nile Perch (which thrives in shallower waters) was introduced in the lake smaller species like tilapia took cover in the deeper waters where NP could not venture (hence the unscientific myth that NP had finished tilapia….the latter run into exile deep in Bugiri and Mukono)
Those Kenya islands are in fact peaks and crests of the portion of the Kenya highlands that borders the lake. When you look at the contours of Pyramid Island and the Island east of Migingo, all you see is that, land was submerged at the birth of Nalubaale but the peaks of some hills were too high to be covered completely by water. The largest of the Kavirondo islands, Mfangano is just the tip of a mountain, as you can see in the attached images.
Solution: final solution to small producers…the lake peasants, like I have been agitating for the land peasants.. Let fishing go industrial, deploy a couple of industrial trawlers in Bugiri…some of them can even be the size of Migingo…you know…which catch, process, pack and freeze the fish ready for export. Let us enforce the borders, as Kenya wants, and we keep their fisherfolk out of Uganda waters that they survive in. As you can see from the topography of the area, their waters are too shallow for industrial trawlers. They would as soon close all the 13 or so fish processing plants on their shores of Victoria. I would even put sonar in our trawlers to call up all the fish from their shallows.. They would not win. That would be the end of fresh water fish for them, especially as L Turkana atrophies as a result of Zenawi’s the hydropower project further up in the Oromo valley.
The Migingo hysteria is no different from the balaalo issue, and the small peasants in the crop farming areas: being stuck in small timer production. Actually YK Museveni has already looked beyond the hysteria of the rocky acre and identified the centre of gravity of the little quarrel: the deep waters of Bugiri and Mukono. He is laughing at those who think the rocky acre is the decisive factor.
My interest in telling Uganda to get their hands off that rock is first it belongs to Kenya a fact that we want to ignore, and secondly, it does not really matter for some one that is determined to harvest fish from that pond called Nalubale. Uganda, go trawler.