Experts from West Africa including oceanographers and environmentalists have validated a strategy to address Sargassum Seaweed surfacing along the West African coast.
The validation meeting involving representatives of affected countries concluded on Wednesday, August 10, in Monrovia with the experts devising strategies to address the situation through study.
Following studies of the strategies, another forum will be organized to reach a working protocol that all affected countries will abide by.
Sahr Abraham Grass-Sessay, West Africa Biodiversity and Climate Change (WABiCC) Advisor to United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) Abidjan Convention, who provided his expert opinion on the effects of seaweed, noted that it affects the tourism and fishing industries along the Atlantic coast.
Grass-Sessay added that the brownish seaweed also suppresses the growth and survival of animals and plants along the coast.
Among strategies designed to tackle the problem, he said, are studies to find out the use of the seaweed to benefit the human populace.
He said turning the seaweed into beer or animal feed can serve as means of creating benefit.
Grass-Sessay said the emergence of the seaweed may be the effect of the mixture of warm and cold ocean waters. He however quoted other sources that say after the seaweed surfaces on the water, it is subsequently brought to the coast as a result of marine movement and oil exploration. These two instances, he said, are yet to be independently confirmed.
A brief ceremony marking the end of the two-day discussion was attended by Abou Bamba, Abidjan Convention Regional Coordinator; Simeon Moriba, Mano River Union (MRU) Deputy Secretary General for Development; and ECOWAS Ambassador to Liberia, Tunde Ajisomo.
In remarks earlier, Ambassador Ajisomo praised the venture and commended the West African experts for putting their brains to work to discuss the confronting environmental problem.
MRU Secretary General Simeon Moriba, on the other hand, noted that the process to address the Sargassum seaweed problem will not only help the environment and marine species, but will also provide job opportunities for youths in the ECOWAS and MRU states.
He described the youths in MRU countries as a “lost generation who were affected by crises created in the region.”
Meanwhile, another phase of the meeting geared towards scrutinizing the Abidjan Convention followed, with officials of the Environmental Protection Agency and the Convention’s Secretariat x-raying each point contained in the convention to recommend what should be injected or removed.