9. Risks to the marine environment

The general outlook for the coastal and marine environment of Sierra Leone could be said to have improved over the last six years. This is due to considerable awareness and positive national and regional actions which have resulted in conscientious environmental stewardship and its sustainability nationally and within the region. This has been borne out of increased political will and commitment by successive governments to mainstream environmental considerations into every aspect of governance at the local/ provincial, national and regional levels.

Common environmental issues, such as declining fish stocks, land-based and sea-borne pollution, coastal erosion, physical alteration and destruction of habitats, etc. pose critical challenges both nationally and regionally. Efforts need to be made to address specific transboundary issues through regional and international agreements and conventions developed and facilitated through bilateral and multi-lateral international and intergovernmental institutions. The United Nations agencies (FAO, UNEP, UNDP, UNIDO, UNESCO/IOC etc.) have been particularly active in facilitating and supporting such initiatives within the region.

Some projections regarding the outlook/risks for the Sierra Leone’s coastal and marine environment based on observed trends are important as they may serve to further enhance general awareness and understanding of current and emerging issues, and perhaps act as wakeup call for appropriate governance, or enable adequate planning and strategy.

The specific outlook/risk issues considered here relate to coastal and marine ecosystem conservation strategies, water quality, natural resources (especially fisheries and mangroves), coastal development, coastal erosion, marine litter, invasive alien species, petroleum and mineral resources, natural hazards, climate change, environment related conventions and protocols including those of the Abidjan Convention.

Short and long term risks to the marine environment if current polices are not changed. Based on likelihood of occurence and consequence for the environment.

Groupe Facteur de risque Risque dans 5 ans Risque dans 50 ans
Élevé Signi- ficatif Mod- éré Faible Élevé Signi- ficatif Mod- éré Faible
Fishing Illegal fishing continues unchecked Risque significatif Risque significatif
Oil and Gas Oil exploration will result in blowout or major oil spill Risque significatif Risque élevé
Shipping Shipwrecks will cause a major oil spill Risque élevé Risque élevé
Coastal erosion Coastal erosion will continue Risque élevé Risque élevé
Climate change Global sea level will raise and cause inundation Risque élevé Risque élevé
Pollution Pollution will cause contamination of seafood Risque significatif Risque élevé
Tourism Tourism causes environmental damage Risque significatif Risque significatif
Mining Catchment disturbance will cause siltation of estuaries Risque élevé Risque significatif
Harmful algea blom Harmful algea blooms will occur Risque élevé
Eutrophication from coastal non-point sources Pollution affects the marine environment Faible risque
Port facilities Port activities will cause environmental damage Risque significatif Risque élevé
Overfishing Collaps of fish stock from overfishing Risque significatif Risque élevé
Valeur de risque  
Niveaux de risque