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Conservation foundation collaborates with varsity to promote marine biodiversity

The Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) is collaborating with the Rivers State University of Science and Technology (RSUT) to promote Marine and Caostal Biodiversity, Dr Muhtari Aminu-Kano, the Director-General of NCF, says.

Marine wildlife
Marine wildlife

In a statement in Abuja on Wednesday, May 1, 2019, Aminu-Kano said the collaboration started with a workshop, tagged, “Experts Roundtable on Marine and Coastal Biodiversity”, held at the university campus in Port Harcourt.

“The aim of the workshop was to share knowledge and experience on the sustainable management of Nigeria’s marine and coastal zones while identifying gaps in knowledge, policy and practice with respect to the country’s marine and coastal biodiversity.

“The workshop was a two-day gathering of experts who brainstormed and came up with recommendations and elements of a framework for the conservation and sustainable use of the marine and coastal zones of Nigeria’’.

He said Nigeria occupies a unique geographic position in Africa and the variability in the marine features endowed it with one of the richest biodiversity in Africa.

“Pressures on marine ecosystems from human activities are already severe and the often-competing demands for marine space and resources are projected to rise.

“Costs of poor ocean management practices, including environmental and social costs, are often not factored into decision-making processes.

“This undermines the resilience of the ecosystems upon which we depend, not just for food and income, but also other less visible life-support functions such as coastal protection, habitat provisioning and carbon sequestration”.

According to him, marine and coastal conservation is one of the policy instruments available to help ensure the conservation and sustainable use of Nigeria’s vast, yet vulnerable, ecosystems.

“Significantly greater efforts are needed by all stakeholders, especially the government, in ensuring the proper management of our marine and coastal ecosystem’’.

Prof. Blessing Didia, the Vice-Chancellor of the institution, said the marine and coastal biodiversity of Niger Delta provided food, energy, water, jobs and economic benefits for the people.

“They are a crucial buffer against climate change and a massive resource for sustainable development.

“And the health of our marine and coastal biodiversity is inextricably linked with the health of our people and all life in Nigeria,’’ Didia added.

Prof. Valentine Omubo-Pepple, the Dean, Faculty of Science, RSUT, said that science provides the public skills to address interdisciplinary questions required for decision-making, behaviour, law and ethics.

“The complex interactions between people, coastal and marine biodiversity require scientifically informed professionals who can speak in the areas of policy and management, research and advocacy,” Omubo-Pepple said.

By Ebere Agozie

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