34.8 C
Sierra Leone
Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Director of Fisheries warns against collapse of marine resources

September 29, 2015 By Max A. Konneh

The Director Fisheries and Marine Resources, Mohamed Bushura Cole, has said in Freetown that the production and management of wastes as a result of socio-economic activities (both land and marine based) pose a challenge and are impacting on the quality of the country’s coastal environment.

He said “there are signs of over exploitation or full exploitation of Sierra Leone’s marine resources including fisheries and mangroves, as well as signs of global warming and sea level rise. If these trends are not checked, it will result to the collapse of such resources and offset of ecological balance.”

Mr. Cole was speaking at the opening of a one-day workshop on the Validation of the Integrated Coastal Zone Management Plan for Sierra Leone and the National Implementation Plan of the Abidjan Convention held on the 23rd September at the Hub Hotel, Wilberforce in Freetown.

He said the coastal zone is endowed with huge potential and as such attracts large human settlement with potential for more, noting that in Sierra Leone, over 10% of its population depends directly or indirectly on the living and non-living marine resources whilst another 60% depends on agriculture, particularly rice cultivation in mangrove swamps and inland valley swamps.

This area, he said, constitutes a complex and dynamic marine ecosystem that supports varying ecological processes and vast array of marine life and habitat, adding that inhabitants in this zone benefit from the exploration and exploitation and use of marine and coastal resources, including minerals, oil, and gas, sand gravels, fishing, salts, timbers, agro production, marine tourism mariculture, transportation etc.

Despite these benefits, the Fisheries Director intimated that there are threats from various developmental activities associated with population growth and expansion, some of which are utility supplies, dredging, mineral extraction, land clearance, waste disposal, fisheries and aquaculture, tourism and recreation.

He furthered that these activities are compounded by landslides, flooding, global warming, and sea level rise, among others, due to climate change, and called on government and other stakeholders to take into full consideration and formulate measures to prevent or minimize the effects of disasters such as the recent flood in most parts of the country.

The programme, which was organised by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), also heard statements from the Executive Chairperson of the agency, Madam Hadijatou Jallow who expressed concerns over “the unsafe and irrational use” of the country’s environment, saying it has led to a lot of disasters such as extreme rains and droughts.

These concerns were underscored by other marine experts such as the head of the Institute of Marine Biology and Oceanography, FBC, University of Sierra Leone, Dr. Raymond Johnson.

Related Articles

Latest Articles