Yawri Bay’s ecosystem in Sierra Leone has been degraded and is susceptible to further decline. The major threats are indiscriminate cutting of mangrove trees for fish smoking and other domestic uses, unsustainable harvest of fish and crustaceans, loss of coastal shorelines and disturbance of wildlife and habitats by people. These threats are driven by gaps in our knowledge of the bay, insufficient legal protection, non-compliance with existing environmental laws, and the fact that at present local residents do not benefit from protecting the bay.
It is against this backdrop that the Conservation Society of Sierra Leone (CSSL), with funding support from the Critical CEPF Supports the Conservation of the Yawri Bay Ecosystem. Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) is currently implementing a project dubbed, “Conserving the Yawri Bay Ecosystem in the Coastal Corridor of Sierra Leone”. The CEPF primarily focuses on empowering civil society organizations to protect biodiversity hotspots around the world.
The project, which commenced in April 2021, has several intervention components including community engagement, assessments (socio-economic, geological, biodiversity and existing legal framework), sensitization and advocacy. The project team at CSSL is currently monitoring the various assessments being undertaken by professional consultants to ensure the achievement of the desired results. Also, engagements so far conducted in the Yawri Bay-edge communities and relevant government institutions have shined a light on the supportive attitude of the various key stakeholders towards the success of the project. In one of such engagements at the Settus Villa in Bureh Town, the Ribbi Chiefdom Speaker, Mr. Mohamed Kamara who spoke on behalf of his people said, “… our resolve to support CSSL in this project is strong because we know that if we conserve Yawri Bay, it will provide invaluable benefits to all”.
Reports received from the consultants on the outcomes of the various assessments will determine the appropriate strategies to be developed by CSSL, communities and strategic partners to ensure sustainable conservation of the Yawri Bay ecosystem corridor in Sierra Leone.