By: Michael Roberts and Sheck Abdul Sherif
Plastic pollution is a major global environmental problem that affects marine life, including fishery resources. Liberia, a country on the west coast of Africa, is not exempt from the impacts of plastic pollution on its fishery resources. This article will examine the effects of plastic pollution on fishery resources in Liberia and what can be done to mitigate its impact.
Fisheries play a significant role in Liberia’s economy, contributing to the livelihoods of many communities and providing a substantial source of protein. However, plastic pollution poses a severe threat to the sustainability of these resources. Plastic debris, including fishing nets and other fishing gear, can entangle and kill marine life, including fish, turtles, and birds. It can also cause injuries that lead to infection or inhibit mobility, making it difficult for these creatures to hunt, eat, or reproduce.
Additionally, plastic pollution can disrupt the food chain in the ocean, which can lead to a decrease in the population of fish and other marine life. Plastic debris can absorb toxic chemicals and pollutants, which can then be transferred to marine life and accumulate in their bodies. When larger predators consume these animals, the harmful chemicals can become concentrated, increasing the risk of illness or death.
The effects of plastic pollution on Liberia’s fishery resources are already being felt. In recent years, local fishermen have reported a decline in the number of fish caught and have attributed this to the increase in plastic pollution. The impact is limited to fish and other marine life, including sea turtles, found dead with plastic debris in their stomachs.
To mitigate the effects of plastic pollution on fishery resources in Liberia, there is a need for immediate action at various levels. First, there is a need for effective waste management systems that can prevent plastic debris from entering the ocean. This can involve policies and regulations that encourage the reduction of plastic waste, the establishment of recycling facilities, and the implementation of effective waste collection and disposal systems.
There is also a need for community education and awareness programs that can help change behavior and reduce the amount of plastic waste generated. This can involve educating local fishermen on the dangers of plastic pollution and encouraging them to use sustainable fishing practices that reduce the amount of plastic waste they generate.
Finally, there is a need for increased research on the impact of plastic pollution on fishery resources in Liberia. This can involve monitoring the population of fish and other marine life, assessing the levels of plastic pollution in the ocean, and identifying the sources of plastic waste.
In conclusion, plastic pollution significantly threatens the sustainability of fishery resources in Liberia. Immediate action is needed to prevent plastic debris from entering the ocean and to reduce the impact on marine life. This can involve policies and regulations, community education and awareness programs, and increased research on the effects of plastic pollution. By working together, we can ensure that Liberia’s fishery resources are protected for future generations.
About the Authors:
Michael Roberts is a Liberian journalist and media trainer with keen interest in investigative and environmental reporting spanning over 15 years. He can be reached on +231777646368.
Sheck Abdul Sherif, PhD Candidate at Queen’s University Belfast and Co-Chair of the Ocean Acidification Africa Network.
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