Shrimp is one of Madagascar’s most lucrative exports, but local fishers and environmental groups say shrimp trawlers are harming the country’s marine environment and leaving too few fish in the sea for the fishing communities that depend on them. Until now, relatively little has been done to address the issue, but there are small signs that may be starting to change, with fishing communities raising their voices to press for exclusive access to Madagascar’s coastal waters
“Industrial fishing poses an existential threat to vulnerable fishing communities in low income countries like Madagascar, where many people have no economic or subsistence alternative to fishing for survival,” Alasdair Harris, a tropical marine ecologist and the executive director of Blue Ventures, a conservation group working in Madagascar, told Mongabay. “I’m dismayed by the lack of attention the environmental sector gives this issue.”
Blue Ventures negotiated a deal with the shrimp lobby to ban trawling in a 4,300-square-kilometer (1,660-square-mile) area near the Barren Isles for the entire 2017 season. (Reports vary on whether trawlers respected the closure; they seem to have at least reduced their activity there.) But the shrimp lobby did not agree to maintain this no-trawl zone for the 2018 season, which started March 1.
Read the full article here: Will Madagascar’s industrial shrimp trawlers make way for local fishers?
Read more from Mongabay on Madagascar: Fish vs. forests? Madagascar’s marine conservation boom