Sierra Leone Government Sells Sensitive Rainforest for Chinese Aquaculture Project

Conservationists, landowners, and rights groups have criticized a $55 million deal struck by the government of Sierra Leone with China to build an industrial aquaculture operation on 100 hectares of the Western Area Peninsula National Park, saying it is “a catastrophic human and ecological disaster.”

Two legal campaign groups, the Institute for Legal Research and Advocacy for Justice (ILRAJ) and Namati Sierra Leone have demanded the government to see the environmental and social impact assessment studies.

These groups also demanded a report showing that the beach was, as claimed, the most suitable place for construction “in terms of bathymetry, social safeguards, and environmental issues.”

ILRAJ Lawyer Basita Michael said urged that they have to “know more” regarding the said deal.

 “The press release was very vague. It left us wondering how did we arrive here and how come we are only hearing about this now. We have a right to know more.”

The government said the beach, one of many along the nation’s 250-mile coastline, was the “most suitable place” for construction, and revealed the finance ministry had set aside a compensation package of more than $1.3 billion for affected landowners. 

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