The Barren Isles archipelago is one of the few remaining strongholds of thriving marine biodiversity in the western Indian Ocean. Lying off the west coast of Madagascar and home to some of the region’s healthiest coral reefs, this diverse ecosystem supports the livelihoods of more than 4,000 traditional fishers.
Pressures on the archipelago have proliferated in recent years, and today the Barren Isles face grave threats now familiar to much of the Indian Ocean: unsustainable and destructive fishing, conflict between small-scale and industrial fishers, and mineral resource exploration.
Responding to these challenges, Blue Ventures and Madagascar’s Ministry of Environment are working together to help local coastal communities create a Locally Managed Marine Area (LMMA) around the Barren Isles. In 2014, the Government of Madagascar granted a two-year preliminary protected status, making the Barren Isles the country’s largest protected area.