Seaweeds At Ghana’s Coastline A Natural Phenomenon

The Director of Water Research Institute at the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Dr. Joseph Addo Ampofo, has pointed out that the emergence of seaweeds at the coastline of the Central and Western Regions could grow worse if the level of pollution along the coastal areas continues unchecked. Speaking to Kumasi-based Ultimate Radio on the sudden rapid spread of some brownish large weeds virtually taking over the coastal lines of the two regions, he indicated that those were natural occurrences which happen in certain climatic seasons and under certain soil conditions within aquatic habitations. “It is algae found actually concentrated in an area of the sea called the Sargasso field and it is the movement of the earth and also evaporations and currents that concentrates them there. It is a big patch when you get there but it is also found throughout the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. When the current changes and there is also windstorm, the current can bring it to our coast and that is why we are having them now,” he explained. Fisher-folks along the coastal belt say fishing activities are being impeded by the weeds, as they weeds interrupt their fishing activities. However Dr. Addo Ampofo cautions that the weeds could spread more rapidly if the levels of pollution of the sea keeps increasing as the weeds feed on nutrients in the pollutants. “Our coasts are rich with nutrients because we dump all sorts of domestic waste, faecal matter and sewage into our seas and this will make them grow and they really multiply and grow very fast,” he said. He however added that the algae weeds also have a potential for drawing fish to replenish the coastal fish stock as larger fishes prefer laying their eggs among the weeds as a safe haven. “Scientifically the sargassum when on the surface of the sea provides protection for fingerlings so you tend to see fishes following them wherever they spread to and we call them the weed of life,” he noted. He added that “the only disadvantage here is that, even though there may be fishes underneath, if you cast your net you might not catch them; it is only the weeds you will catch.” Dr. Joseph Addo Ampofo suggested that it was high time the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies overseeing coastal areas checked pollution of the coastal areas. He warns that because the weeds float on the surface of the water, it will attract and trap all foreign materials including the waste plastic released into the sea. He says the ability of the algae to grow or die off quickly depends on Ghana’s ability to ensure that pollutants do not get into the sea to nourish the weeds.