Mr. Roger Samba, announced by WWF US as the winner of the 2008 award, was nominated by Blue Ventures and was selected in recognition of his outstanding community leadership in support of conservation in the remote coastal village of Andavadoaka, southwest Madagascar. The indigenous semi-nomadic Vezo people of Andavadoaka depend on artisanal fishing activities for their livelihoods,but recently these marine resources have faced increasing threats from coastal population expansion, unsustainable tourism, and an increase in international fishing fleets. Mr. Samba has spent the last six years working to protect the region's fragile marine biodiversity and habitats, and organised the world's first community-run no-take zone for octopus, a local species critical to the region’s economy. Seasonal closures of octopus fishing areas resulted in increased abundance and size, and the project's success has led to its use as a model for the implementation of similar projects across the country.
The blueprint created by Mr. Samba for empowering local communities to engage in the management of coral reefs and related habitats has inspired the development of alternative livelihood and environmental education initiatives, influenced national fisheries legislation, and brought unprecedented attention to marine and coastal conservation issues.
Administered by WWF, the J. Paul Getty award carries a $200,000 prize fund, which Mr. Samba has used to set up ‘Le Programme ROGER SAMBA pour l'Education Supérieur en Conservation Marin', a scholarship programme for promising Malagasy students of marine science. Now in its second year, the programme supports 10 scholarships per year; 5 for undergraduates and 5 for postgraduates. Applications are now invited for the 2010-11 academic year, application details can be found at the link below.
For further information, please see http://www.livewiththesea.org/velondriake/getty.htm
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