Submitted by: Blue Ventures Conservation
Implemented country: Madagascar
Title: Simple Fishermen Close Ranks to Protect Their Livelihood
Madagascar is one of the poorest countries of the world. Deforestation of the mangrove forests, overfishing, lacking education as well as a lack of environmental awareness are threatening the livelihood of the local population. Blue Ventures Conservation is committed to creating a greater sense of awareness and has set a goal for providing affordable solutions for the population to help protect mangrove forests and fish stock in Madagascar. One way of doing this was to implement a fishing ban for certain areas and times. Brian Jones, a former shark fisherman, is aware of his fellow Malagasies’ needs. As head of the community he knows that 80% of the population live off fishing and is aware of the value and the threats concerning their eco-system. It is important to him to include the local population and to inform them concerning the need for certain measures as well as explain to them the advantages of such a showcase project.
Because the fishermen live from one day to the next it was difficult to convince them of the fact that temporary fishing bans will help conserve the stock in the long run and that they would not have to give up their traditions. A halt needed to be put to deforestation of the mangrove forests because as much as 39% of the forests have disappeared in the course of the last three decades. But through much talking, showing videos, and handing out information leaflets, Brian Jones was able to gain his fellow countrymen’s trust and understanding for the need to protect the stock of fish and trees. Certain areas are now banned from fishing during a particular period, for example to protect crayfish during mating season. The fishermen support these projects and respect the bans. This is an important success that will help preserve the stock for future generations. Brian would like to include more villages in Madagascar in his project, but also more islands in the West Indies because they are suffering from similar problems.
“My major motto is: 'Knowledge is Power!' ...I hope to pass my knowledge on to communities throughout Madagascar.”