High Incidence of Cyanobacterial Blooms along the Coast of the Cameroon Gulf of Guinea and their Effects on Human Health and Amenities

  • P M Oben
  • B O Oben
  • B Fonge


The coast of the Cameroon Gulf of Guinea (GoG) comprises areas like the, Idenau beach, Mudeka/Tiko creeks, Limbe estuary and Douala Lagoon most of which are in the immediate vicinity of industrial zones, logging stations and an oil refinery. They serve as centres for recreational sailing, fin and shellfish fisheries and sinks for the disposal of wastes. The coastline of the Cameroon GoG is generally characterised by low salinity due to high rainfall and a dense river network, which supplies freshwater. The peak salinity values recorded during the dry and rainy seasons were 20 and 12 respectively. High levels of organic nutrients ranging from 825.92 to 1671.26 ppm were recorded. Various species of Phormidium, Heterocapsa, Rivularia, Trichodesmium, and Lyngbya were identified. Water management in Cameroon is threatened with extensive and persistent noxious occurrences of harmful cyanobacterial blooms (HCBs) and they have had a significant impact on the utilization of aquatic resources. Blooms of Lyngbya have been incriminated in cases of severe dermatitis. Fish and shellfish consumers have also reported many acute cases of sudden abdominal cramps, headaches, vomits and diarrhoea. Recommendations are made and the need for systematic long-term research in collaboration with developed country scientists is elucidated.

Keywords: GoG, HABs, HCBs, dry and rainy seasons, cyanobacteria, harmful, blooms

> Tropical Freshwater Biology Vol. 15 2006: pp. 33-42

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eISSN: 0795-0101