Gov. Diri’s Former Aide Wants Marine Reserves Established in Bayelsa… Says Several Coastal Countries Lack Marine Protected Areas

Immediate past Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to Bayelsa State Governor on Tourism who also doubles as Chairman, Board of Trustees of BRACED Tourism Promotion & Development Initiative (BTPDI), Dr. Piriye Kyaramo has stressed the urgent need for the government to designate areas with high marine species richness as Marine Protected Areas in Bayelsa State in line with Governor Douye Diri’s desire to create a Ministry of Blue Economy.

Dr. Kiyaramo who spoke with newsmen at the Ernest Ikoli Press Centre Yenagoa on Thursday hinted that studies have indicated that three-quarters of coastal countries didn’t have even one marine reserve and that, less than 3% of the global ocean is under some form of protection, reiterating that unsustainable practices and over exploitation of marine resources could lead to environmental degradation and negatively impact the long-term sustainability of the Blue Economy.

According to the Director General of Ernest Ikoli Visitor Information Centre Yenagoa, marine protected areas have been used as part of conservation measures for decades in advanced countries, informing that the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) defines a protected area as “a clearly defined geographical space, recognised, dedicated and managed, through legal or other effective means, to achieve the long term conservation of nature with associated ecosystem services and cultural values.”

“Reserves protect whole ecosystems, allowing them to return toward a more natural and balanced state. Monitoring studies from marine reserves have also shown that biomass, the size and density of organisms, and the richness or diversity of species all increase within marine reserves. Therefore, reserves can be an effective way to preserve biodiversity by protecting communities and providing refuge for rare organisms,” He explained.

Dr. Kiyaramo noted that the blue economy is all about sustainable use of marine resources and the opportunities around oceans for economic growth, improved livelihoods, and job creation, while also making concerted efforts towards preserving marine health and coastal ecosystems.

“Blue Economy encompasses various economic sectors, including fisheries, aquaculture, tourism, marine, renewable energy, maritime transportation, security, and coastal infrastructure development, among others.

“According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the ocean economy contributed $1.5tn to the global economy in 2010 and is projected to double by 2030.
Blue economy recognises the importance of oceans and their resources to the global economy and society,” Dr. Kiyaramo emphasized.

The governor’s former aide on Tourism lamented that while countries like Norway, United States, Ireland, United Kingdom, Canada, Seychelles, Morocco, Mauritania, among others are maximising the use of their marine environment and blue economy, most African countries are not, just as he urged the Bayelsa State governor to take the lead in exploring the potential of the Blue Economy in the state.

Dr. Kiyaramo reiterated further that an additional advantage of developing the Blue Economy is that it would always recognise the importance of addressing climate change, reducing marine pollution, and enhancing ocean resilience to protect marine ecosystems and ensure their sustainability through sustainable use of the ocean and the coastal waters.

“Several organisations and initiatives promote global blue economy, including the World Ocean Council, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 14, which is “life below water”, and the European Union’s Blue Growth Strategy

“These initiatives aim to promote the sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth while protecting the environment and ensuring social equity. The European Commission defines Blue Economy as “all economic activities related to oceans, seas and coasts,” He stated.

It will be recalled that marine protected areas are usually set up to protect vulnerable species and ecosystems, to conserve biodiversity and minimize extinction risk, to re-establish ecosystem integrity, to segregate uses to avoid user conflicts, and to enhance the productivity of fish and marine invertebrate populations.

They have proven to be useful in terms of providing a public focus for marine conservation. Increasingly, they have been adapted to protect wide-ranging marine mammal populations, helping to protect important habitats and representative samples of marine life as well as assisting in restoring the productivity of the oceans to avoid further degradation.


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