The Prime Minister’s speech
Blue Ventures has a long history of collaboration with Madagascar’s Fisheries Ministry, most recently in efforts to raise awareness of fisheries legislation amongst coastal communities as part of an ambitious social marketing campaign. The ongoing ‘Vezo Aho’ (“Proud to be Vezo”) campaign is working closely with the Ministry to bring an end to destructive and unsustainable fishing practices in Vezo coastal communities. The Ministry of Fisheries has been engaged by the campaign to assist with educational efforts to discourage the use of destructive fishing practices in community-managed marine protected areas such as the highly acclaimed locally-managed Velondriake marine reserve.
During the inauguration ceremony Blue Ventures staff presented an overview of ongoing regional marine conservation efforts to the leaders of the Madagascar Transitional Authority (HAT), along with staff of the Ministry of Fisheries and partner NGOs. Discussions focussed on the Vezo Aho campaign and the huge scope for social marketing as a tool to address some of the critical marine environmental challenges experienced here and elsewhere in Madagascar. Discussions with the country’s leaders garnered encouraging support for expansion of the Vezo Aho campaign in future, and for strengthening of regional efforts to promote community-based marine resource management.
“We hope that by fostering closer links with the National government our campaign will not only gain greater recognition but also provide much needed support for coastal communities working to manage their marine resources” said Bienvenue Zafindrasilivonona, a social scientist working with Blue Ventures on the Vezo Aho campaign.
Bienvenue and the Minister of Aquaculture
The Vezo campaign, managed by conservations Gildas Andriamalala and Shawn Peabody, is now preparing for a regional Vezo festival to celebrate traditional fishing and seafaring culture in southwestern Madagascar. This remote region is home to the country’s largest populations of traditional and artisanal fishers, many of whom are entirely dependent on fishing for subsistence and income. Zafindrasilivonona continued: “This festival is going to be a fantastic opportunity to showcase the tremendous potential of social marketing as a tool to address conservation challenges in this country’s isolated fishing communities”.