For many years, the Vezo – traditional fishers in southwest Madagascar – saw marine conservation as a threat, a way of preventing them from accessing their fishing grounds. A decade ago, we set about trying to overcome this issue, working with these communities to understand their concerns and develop a low-risk approach to marine protection that would return meaningful economic benefits in timeframes that worked for them.
Mangroves are found throughout the tropics, providing critical ecosystem goods and services to coastal communities and supporting rich biodiversity. Globally, mangroves are being rapidly degraded and deforested at rates exceeding loss in many tropical inland forests. While historically not prominent, mangrove loss in Madagascar’s Mahajamba Bay is increasing.
Eight years of octopus fishery records from southwest Madagascar reveal significant positive impacts from 36 periodic closures on: (a) fishery catches and (b) village fishery income, such that (c) economic benefits from increased landings outweigh costs of foregone catch. We discuss the implications of our findings for broader co-management arrangements, particularly for catalyzing more comprehensive management.
Madagascar’s diverse marine ecosystems serve as critical biodiversity habitats and are also essential to the livelihoods, food security and culture of coastal people, including semi-nomadic Vezo fishers based along the southwest coast.
The first documented in situ observations of coral spawning for Madagascar and the Mozambique Channel are reported, close to the southernmost range in the global distribution of these Acropora species.
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