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The Gulf of Guinea Large Marine Ecosystem
Hardman-Mountford, N.J.; Koranteng, K.A.; Price, A.R.G. (2000). The Gulf of Guinea Large Marine Ecosystem, in: Sheppard, C.R.C. (Ed.) Seas at the millennium: an environmental evaluation: 1. Regional chapters: Europe, The Americas and West Africa. pp. 773-796
In: Sheppard, C.R.C. (Ed.) (2000). Seas at the millennium: an environmental evaluation: 1. Regional chapters: Europe, The Americas and West Africa. Pergamon: Amsterdam. ISBN 0-08-043207-7. XXI, 934 pp., more

Available in Authors 
Document type: Review

Keyword
    Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Hardman-Mountford, N.J.
  • Koranteng, K.A., more
  • Price, A.R.G.

Abstract
    The Gulf of Guinea Large Marine Ecosystem (LME) lies between the Bijagos Islands (Guinea-Bissau) and Cape Lopez (Gabon). It is generally defined as the area influenced by the flow of the Guinea Current. The coastal area is characteristically low lying and interspersed with marshes, lagoons and mangrove swamps. The region has a monsoon climate with high precipitation and almost constant monthly temperatures. Many rivers flow into the Gulf of Guinea, giving warm, low salinity coastal waters, except during the upwelling seasons in the central part of the Gulf. Mangroves are found around the major river mouths in the Gulf of Guinea, especially in the Niger Delta. Some corals are present in coastal and offshore areas, but true reefs are absent. Turtles, marine mammals and seabirds are also present. A number of fish communities are present in coastal and offshore waters. The Gulf of Guinea is the most densely settled coastal area in Africa and is highly impacted by human activities. Mangroves, which constitute an important resource for coastal populations, are damaged by over-exploitation and pollution of water bodies from urban run-off. Forest clearance in rural areas is another major problem, causing topsoil erosion. Artisanal and industrial fisheries and aquaculture are an important source of employment and food in the region and shallow coastal waters appear fully or over exploited. Other anthropogenic activities include onshore and offshore oil production, damming of major rivers, port development and landfill. Such activities have serious effects on marine and coastal environments and can contribute to coastal erosion. A number of protected areas now exist and some environmental legislation is in place. However, enforcement is difficult, mainly due to constraints on financial, physical and human resources.

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