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Environmentalists Seek Protection of Nigeria’s Mangroves

Environmentalists have called for the protection of Nigeria’s mangroves ahead of the International Day for the Conservation of the Mangrove Ecosystem.

They made the call at a webinar organized by the Association for Environmental Impact Assessment of Nigeria (AEIAN) in collaboration with the Rivers Chapter of Fisheries Society of Nigeria (RivFISON) on Wednesday, July 26, 2023.

The International Day for the Conservation of the Mangrove Ecosystem is celebrated every year on July 26.

It aims to raise awareness of the importance of mangrove ecosystems as “a unique, special and vulnerable ecosystem” and to promote solutions for their sustainable management, conservation, and uses.
This International Day was adopted by the General Conference of the UN Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) in 2015.

Delivering his keynote speech, Dr Aroloye Numbere, a mangrove ecologist, while speaking on the topic: “Mangrove: Food Basket of the Sea and Haven of Fisheries,” said fishes get their food from the mangrove ecosystem.
Numbere said that the mangrove forest is found in the coastal area of the world where aquatic species inhabit the mangrove forests.

The don said that the mangrove vegetation was seriously being endangered by human activities leading to a loss of biodiversity.

“Mangroves are one of the world’s most productive ecosystems. “They serve as the supermarket of the sea,” Numbere said.

According to him, mangroves render enormous ecosystem services including cooking, food, charcoal, medicinal herbs, fishery, forest products, restoration and tourist attraction and spiritual purposes.

Numbere stressed the need to preserve mangrove ecosystems because they are hotspots for biodiversity and melting point for species.

He said that the Niger Delta is a biodiversity haven housing a great number of species such as the grasscutter, rats squirrels, antelope, porcupine and over 200 species of fish from 78 families.

He said that fishing limits laws and regulations need to be put in place for sustainable fishing.

The expert also mentioned other sustainable use of fisheries as: conserving the fish through outright bans on fishing for a while, use of fishing methods, and outlawing fishing with poison and explosives.

Numbere listed causes of biodiversity extinction as habitat destruction, poaching, pollution, invasive species and oil and gas exploration.

On the other hand, he said that biodiversity could be protected through the formulation of laws and treatises, habitat preservation, and protection (strict or limited protection).

He said that in embarking on construction projects, the government and individual developers should be able to balance development and preservation for the sake of future generations.

“There is the need to weigh the cost and benefits of a project.

“Are we weighing the long-term and short-term benefits of the project to know if the loss of biodiversity will be more than the benefits of the project?” Numbere asked.

He expressed his appreciation to the AEIAN and RivFISON for putting up the webinar to educate people on the need to conserve the mangrove ecosystem.

The webinar attracted experts and environmentalists from different fields.

Some of the attendees urged environmentalists and civil society organisations to rise up to the occasion by ensuring that proper environmental impact assessment was done on any project either by individuals or the government to forestall the huge loss of biodiversity.

Citing the Rivers State Government’s proposed 50.15km Ring Road project, they wondered if the accurate mapping of the route of the project was done to forestall a huge loss of biodiversity.

They decried the huge loss of mangrove in the Niger Delta area through oil and gas exploration, which they said had resulted in the loss of biodiversity.


By Dare Akogun

Dare Akogun

Dare Akogun is a dynamic media innovator, strategic communication professional, and seasoned climate and environmental sustainability journalist with over 10 years of influential contributions to the media industry.

He Currently serving as the Head of Digital Media, Senior News Editor, and a presenter at Sobi FM 101.9, a leading radio station in Ilorin, Nigeria.

Dare is on a mission to leverage his media innovation expertise and project management skills to produce high-quality, accurate, and engaging content, while advocating for reduced fossil fuel consumption, especially coal, to combat effect of global warming.

He has covered comprehensively environmental issues and COP conferences, including COP28 in Dubai last year , COP 27 in Egypt, and the United Nations Least Developed Countries conference in Doha, in 2023.

He is a recipient of fellowship to be part of a 15 team of journalists selected worldwide to cover the Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue 2024.

He has a Master's Degree in Mass Communication, from the University of Lagos, a Bachelor's Degree in Journalism from the Lagos State University and also a
Certification in Business Administration and Management, from the Babson College, Massachusetts, United States of America.

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