Five species of marine turtle are found in Madagascar’s waters and all are listed as endangered by the IUCN and are protected by Malagasy legislation. However, an active traditional fishery still remains that has become increasingly unsustainable as coastal populations have increased.
To celebrate World Sea Turtle Day, awareness-raising events will take place at three locally-managed marine areas (LMMA) along Madagascar’s west coast. Educational radio and television shows will be aired that aim to highlight marine turtle conservation issues to over 20,000 people.
Marine turtle education will be included in Blue Ventures’ youth-centred activities within the Velondriake LMMA. Nearly 200 children between age 6 and 14 will attend Saturday School (weekly hands-on environmental education), where they will learn about the importance of protecting sea turtles using comic books and songs written specifically for the coastal southwest community. In Connecting Classrooms, 60 adolescents (age 12 to 20) will study the importance of sea turtles in the marine ecosystem, and share what they learn with other youth around the globe through ConnectingClassrooms.net. The Club Aloalo youth environmental club (45 adolescents, age 13 and 24) will develop an advocacy statement urging other youth around Velondriake to not eat turtle meat, and to respect the national laws and Dina (local law) against turtle hunting.
These events not only aim to celebrate World Sea Turtle Day but to capitalise on Blue Ventures’ awareness-raising marine turtle festival that has now travelled over 600 km to reach 1000s of adults and children along Madagascar’s west coast. The festival promotes Vezo pride in their cultural identity and heritage and encourages communities to think about the preservation of their culture for future generations.
Blue Ventures is an award-winning marine conservation organisation, dedicated to working with local communities to conserve threatened marine environments.
Their acclaimed conservation programmes work with some of the world’s poorest coastal people to develop conservation and poverty alleviation initiatives that protect biodiversity and coastal livelihoods. The results of this work help them to propose new ideas to benefit coastal communities everywhere.
In recent years, Blue Ventures has won international acclaim for innovative approaches to addressing the challenges faced by coastal communities. Recent accolades include the Buckminster Fuller Challenge, the United Nations’ Equator Prize and IUCN’s SEED Award – some of the most prestigious global awards for innovation in biodiversity conservation and poverty alleviation.
Amongst other achievements, Blue Ventures has created the largest community-managed marine reserves in the Indian Ocean, and pioneered ambitious research programmes tackling critical issues facing marine biodiversity conservation and resource-dependent coastal communities.
Alongside work in fisheries management and protected area development, their programmes encompass marine and fisheries research, endangered species conservation, and environmental education and community capacity building.
Beyond more ‘conventional’ approaches to conservation, Blue Ventures also manage sustainable aquaculture initiatives, family planning and public health projects, and advocate at national and international levels for fisheries policy reform.