Sierra Leone: Nation's Marine Environment, Resources Protected

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What are the potential risks to Sierra Leone's coastal ecosystems, communities and infrastructure due to climate change?

Coastal erosion, flooding, sea level rise, mangrove deforestation, disappearance of coastal settlements.

What technologies, adaptation strategies, and national policies (land tenure, for example) are available to Sierra Leone for the sustainable management of coastal resources and coastal communities?

There is no overall legal framework for the coastal and marine environment policy. However, there are several existing natural resource utilization frameworks, and there are ongoing attempts to have management plans developed, i.e. Coastal Zone Management Plan, Fisheries Management Plan, National Action Plan to combat fisheries depletion and coastal area degradation.

Further, some measures have been taken over the past few years to protect the coastal and marine environment, taking cognizance of safety and security. These steps were geared towards the maintenance of sustained fishery development, coastal and marine environmental protection, safety and security at sea, maintaining the quality and integrity of the coastal and marine ecosystems for other socio-economic uses. These measures include restrictions on beach sand extraction, banning of environmentally unfriendly fishing methods, mangrove re-afforestation programmes, establishment of reserves, designation of Ramsar Protected Sites and restrictions on beach face constructions.

[Other measures include:]

  • Licensing of fishing trawlers continues with a view to restricting the number of fishing vessels to meet the potential exploitable biomass.
  • Licensing of fishing trawlers continues with a view to restricting the number of fishing vessels to meet the potential exploitable biomass.
  • There is the 1994 Fisheries Management and Development Act and the 1995 Fisheries Regulations (all being reviewed now).
  • The Fisheries Ministry, through its Statistics unit continues to monitor fish production through daily reports sent in by Fisheries Observers placed on board industrial fishing vessels or fisheries dock observers in the artisanal fisheries industry.
    Surveillance of the Inshore Exclusive Zone.
  • The capacity of the navy has recently been enhanced with the provision of one surveillance boat by the Chinese Government for distance water and three (3) cutters from the United States Government.
  • The Joint Maritime Committee was established with a view to managing maritime affairs which include fisheries, surveillance, sea transport, customs etc. the composition of this Authority includes: Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources (chair), Navy/Maritime Wing, British International Military Assistance and Training Team, Marine Police, Ports Authority, Sierra Leone Maritime Authority, Ministry of Defense and Office of National Security in the President's Office.
  • Fisheries research survey was carried out within the territorial waters of Sierra Leone under the auspices of the GCLME project. The objective of the survey was largely to determine the distribution and abundance of demersal and pelagic fish resources.
  • Aquaculture Development - With regards to aquaculture development, little has been done due to limited resources. However, the Ministry benefited from the Chinese government by way of building the capacity of senior and middle level professional staff in aquaculture development as well as other management disciplines.
  • The Disaster Management Department in the Office of National Security, State House commissioned a risk assessment study in 2005 to look at the various types of disasters both natural and manmade disasters. The inventory that was compiled was on hazards rather than disasters.
  • Proposal for the establishment of Marine Protected Areas - Scarcies River Estuary, Yawri Bay and Creeks, Sherbro River Estuary and Islands.
  • At present the Disaster Management Unit in the Office of National Security is developing a national Disaster Policy and Management Plan. The Department is working in close collaboration with key government line ministries and NGOs to build a disaster resilient Sierra Leone.

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