Over 27 journalists from the seven countries covered by the Coastal and Marine Conservation Partnership (PRCM) namely Cape Verde, Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Guinea, Mauritania, Sierra Leone and Senegal has recently concluded four days training on coastal and marine ecosystem.
The training brought together journalists from the print; electronic and online media at a local hotel in Senegal was facilitated by Wetlands International and funded by MAVA Foundation. The objective is to strengthen the capacity of journalists on issues of this problem, to raise awareness about the challenges and emerging threats facing the coastal and marine ecosystems.
Then during the presentations there were many expectations for journalists who want to better equip themselves to value the travail on the environmental issue.
Ahmed Senhoury Director of PRCM said that the West African coastal zone has experienced a more rapid development and that it is one of the richest coastlines. According to him, the ecosystem functions like a human being. This ecosystem can be a rocky area, a sandy beach, an estuary, mangroves, mudflats. However, these different ecosystems are marked by certain fragility. And sandy shores are the most vulnerable.
The presenter then focused on the richness and opportunities of the West African coastline. The fact is that 60% of the population is concentrated on the coast, that all the Capitals border the sea, and that there is a concentration of industries. The debate went much further than the journalist to better understand this theme.
For his part, Pierre Campredon a consultant with PRCM gave overviewed concepts of ecosystem, saying that the phenomenon of "Upwelling" is the main explanation of the richness of the West African coasts. He also returned to the phenomenon of coastal drift but also of Tides which, according to him, makes the heart of the coastal zone beat in the sense that it is the tide that determines the life and activities of fishermen.
Pierre Campredon said the impact of human activities on coastal and marine ecosystems is a reality. He cites urban planning (migration, sand extraction), fishing (overexploitation, dumping at sea, etc.), agriculture (transformation of mangroves into rice mills), tourism (development of the hotel industry), exploitation of hydrocarbons (oil spill risks with dramatic consequences for tourism and fishing), infrastructure (disruption of ecosystem functioning). For the expert, these phenomena and threats are all linked. Their care must be simultaneous and cumulative.
Yahya Guèye, who presentation focus on mangrove saying mangroves are found in the tidal sway zone, in the Intertropical zone. There are about 60 mangrove species in the world. In Africa, it is located in five eco-regions and accounts for 19 % of the world's mangroves. In our subregion, there are eight species of mangroves. YahyaGuèye also insisted on seagrasses. He teaches us that they are flowering plants and not trees. They are also called Underwater prairie. Grass beds only live under water. The ecosystem benefit is measured by its ability to provide goods and services. Ecosystem degradation factors are linked to population growth, climate change, the transformation of mangroves into rice plantations, and natural soil degradation. However, there are restoration efforts undertaken by NGOs (protected areas, action to revitalize mangroves through irrigation, etc.).
He explains that "emblematic species" means those species that play an important role in the culture and popular imagination and whose disappearance would disrupt the ecosystem. In this group, we note the cetaceans and the species that have baleen (dolphins, whales, sperm whales). Hunting with the sonar system, these species are naturally disturbed by the powerful sonar of boats, which increases the risk of Stranding, as happened recently in Cape Verde. Other emblematic species include the Manatee, turtles, sharks and Rays.
In a very didactic approach and full of pictorial references, Colonel Abdoulaye Ndiaye explained the phenomenon of bird migration. For example, he tells us that the bird is obliged to do twice its weight, storing as much fat as possible in order to make the intercontinental trip. He also explained that migration is only mentioned when there is an idea of returning to the point of departure. The Colonel informs us that the bird, during its journey, needs transit points that must meet certain safety standards.
According to the presentation by Richard Dacosta of Abidjan Convention said that the protocol seeks to solve the problems related to the coastline that goes from Mauritania to South Africa, in other words, the entire Atlantic coastline over a length of 14,000 km crossing three major marine ecosystems : Canarie, Guinea and Benguala. This cooperation tool brings together 22 countries that all face the same challenges and are therefore obliged to work together, to pool their strengths to tackle the problems they face. Mr. Dacosta defines the Additional Protocol by an agreement which supplements a previous agreement. It is a specific text that clarifies a text that has already been adopted. The Abidjan Additional Protocol was the result of a long process and negotiations were not at all easy, he said. The text was finally adopted at Cop 12
For his part DembaMarico of PRCM give presentation infrastructure development risks assessment, listing of the types of infrastructure that, in recent years, have flourished on the West African coast. These infrastructures are Port, Industrial, tourist, urban, Hydro-agricultural, mining, oil and transport. All these infrastructures have an impact on coastal and marine ecosystems, according to Mr. Marico. Some, built at a cost of billions of Fcffor energy and agriculture needs, have not yet met the expected economic profitability. This is the case of the 150 existing dams in West Africa, while some 40 are under construction. Very often, these infrastructures are not preceded by environmental impact studies (case of the Port of Mauritania). As solutions, Marico calls for the promotion of sustainable infrastructures, the establishment and application of a legal and regulatory framework, the definition of zoning plans incorporating the actions essential for the protection of biodiversity sites and the establishment of assessment tools.…
Mouhamed Ould Abidine Ould Mayif in his view, fisheries management requires policies and strategies based on legislative and institutional tools. In addition, good fisheries governance is based on participation, consultation, fairness, equity and transparency. This last point, that is, transparency, leads, in his view, to the sustainability of Fisheries.