According to a fishmonger commonly known as ‘Mama G’ whenever the seaweeds appear, it affects fishing as the nets used to catch fish get destroyed by the seaweeds. She lamented that fishermen and they (fishmongers) have nowhere to get their living except through fishing activities but that the seaweeds are posing serious threat to their livelihood.
The Harbor Master for Wan Pole Fishing Site at Lumley Beach, Ibrahim Kargbo lamented that the seaweed is affecting fishing activities by destroying their fishing nets, citing that his own boat is currently grounded because of the seaweeds. He added that whenever seaweeds appear, fish disappear. He however commended the role of the Tourist Board especially the General Manager for their prompt response whenever seaweeds appear to clear it out although it is still a scourge.
Paul Lamin is the Assistant Director for Environment Protection Agency (EPA). He informed AYV that the seaweeds have affected other countries as well and that Sierra Leone is not the only affected country. “This is natural according to our findings and is not related to mining or exploration,” he said. He explained that research done in 2011 shows that the seaweeds are coming on to the beaches because of unusually high nutrient on the shores of coastal waters. This he explained further makes way for seaweeds to bloom in high quantities. He also said that climate change is partly to blame as ocean acidity levels change. He added that the moment seaweeds appear on our beaches, the Tourist Board and other parties respond by putting in measures to have it cleared away as it appears.
General Manager of National Tourist Board, Fatmata Abe-Osagie in an interview with AYV noted that whenever the seaweeds appear the Board works together with other players to address the issue by cleaning the seaweed on the beaches, and that this is what they have been doing since seaweeds started appearing on Sierra Leone’s beaches in 2011.
She added that unlike subsequent years, this year’s seaweed invasion has been very massive. She went on to state that Tourist Board officers are currently all over the beaches trying to clean the beaches although it is a serious challenge, adding that they also hire Mr. Klin to clear the seaweeds.
The smell of the seaweeds is terrible according to people visiting the beaches, which makes tourists also reluctant or unable to visit the beaches.
According to the authorities responsible for the management of the beaches, if urgent action is not taken to address this environment catastrophe, it will generate to a level that will be difficult for government and individuals to maximize Sierra Leone’s potential in the tourism sector, which also has the potential of stifling economic growth and environmental health.