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Congo designates swathes of its Atlantic waters protected areas

Congo's Atlantic waters have the target of irregular and unregulated fishing by industrial trawlers   -  
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Republic of the Congo

In a bid to sell its conservation credentials, Congo has designated Loango Bay, located on its Atlantic coast, and two other sites with globally important fish species, as marine protected areas.

"The country, together with the Global Environment Facility, has taken the initiative to create protected areas. Studies have shown that in this area of Loango Bay, there are 153 species. this pushes us to preserve the oceans, because the ocean is a climate regulator, said Alex Ngoma from conservation group Renatura.

Other than Loango bay, the Congolese authorities have named Mvassa Bay and Conkouati Douli National Park protected zones.

"In Congo and particularly on this beach, we have four different turtles that come to reproduce and feed and during the dry season, we have huge migrations of humpback whales that come from Antarctica and go up to the park of Conkouati and Gabon. In addition to humpback whales, we also have species of dolphins that are on the red list and therefore threatened with extinction, which is the humpback dolphin," said Robin Marsac, an ocean activist. 

Congo's Atlantic waters have been the victim of unregulated industrial fishing, which has threatened not just the delicate ecosystems but also the lives of local fishermen. 

The United Nations had declared the years 2020 to 2030 as the decade of the oceans.

Cedric Sehossolo reports from Pointe Noire

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