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Crossing the ocean – a community exchange


A new short film released today tells the remarkable story of two communities traveling thousands of miles to experience different forms of sustainable fisheries management as part of a community exchange initiative between Madagascar and Mexico.

This initiative, supported by the Helmsley Charitable Trust, allows the participants to overcome the geographic and linguistic barriers that would normally prevent coastal communities from these two opposite sides of the world sharing hands-on experiences of fisheries management and marine conservation.

From the shores of Baja California to a remote fishing village in southwest Madagascar, the participants learned about best practices in small-scale fisheries management, exploring new ideas and approaches to sustainability, and sharing positive experiences and solutions.

The first leg of the exchange took place in August 2015, when the Mexican fishers, along with representatives of Mexican conservation organisations Pronatura Noreste and Smartfish Mexico, visited Madagascar to learn about the short-term fisheries closures carried out there over the past 11 years as a management tool to build catches and income.

As a result of this visit, fishers in Baja California implemented a temporary closure soon after their return, demonstrating the potential benefits of peer-to-peer learning and community exchange as a means of supporting community-based fisheries management.

The second leg of the exchange was in June 2015, when 3 octopus fishers from Madagascar, accompanied by Blue Ventures staff, made the journey to Bahia de Los Angeles in Mexico.

Community exchanges like these can play a powerful role in inspiring local action to improve fisheries management and conservation. Similar community visits organised between communities in the Western Indian Ocean have repeatedly demonstrated their enormous potential as a way of sharing experiences and best practice, as well as in catalysing the uptake of innovations to tackle ocean declines.

Blue Ventures would like to thank our partners in Mexico Pronatura Noroeste and Smartfish Mexico as well as The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust for supporting this initiative.

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