Farwa Island, Libyan’s Gem in Danger
Farwa island is an idyllic area located on the extreme west of the Libyan’s Mediterranean coast. Unfortunately, this wildlife treasure in a civil war country is threatened by a destructive fishing method, lobbing grenades into the water, and a leak of heavy metal from a local industry. This situation is not the only one in the Mediterranean sea, where 8% of the fish species are endangered.
Two main causes: destructive fishing and pollution
Libya has been ravaged by civil war for a decade, and weapons became common to use, even for fishermen. Locals fish with grenades into the water, a method destroying everything in the blast zone. In this failed state, no the fishing industry is left unregulated and uncontrolled by a lack of law enforcement.
Turtles are also victims, caught in the drifting fishing nets. It is also hard for them to reproduce because of the people digging up on the beach for their eggs.
The second threat for Farwa is the Abu Kammash petrochemical factory, 2 kilometres south of the island. The industry leaked heavy metals for years and is now abandoned. A perfect situation for an environmental disaster.
Wildlife Conservation, a global problem for theWhere is Farwa Island?
Farwa is located 40 kilometres of the city port of Zuwara, on the extreme west of the Libyan’s Mediterranean coast. This post-card idyllic island is 13 kilometers long and inhabited, excepted by some occasional lucky tourists.
The landscape is composed of date palm tree on white sandy beaches along the deep blue of the Mediterranean waters.
According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Farwa island might be the “most important coastal and marine site in western Libya, in terms of its high marine and coastal biodiversity”. Many flamingos reside in its salt marshes and lagoon and it is common to see sea turtles in shallow waters.
Wildlife Conservation, a global problem for the Mediterranean Sea
As explained in a precedent article, the Mediterranean Sea used to be a wonderful ecosystem with more than 7% of global marine fish species, with a total of 519 different species.
Unfortunately, maritime pollution, over-stock fishing and a lack of Marine Protected Areas (MPA) led to a degradation of its ecosystem.
IUCN reported that 14 species are critically endangered, 13 species are endangered and 15 are vulnerable. Most of them are sharks, rays and sea turtles. Over 8% of Mediterranean fish species are concerned.