In many remote coastal regions there are few economic opportunities beyond fishing, and communities are totally reliant on the sea for their survival. We are working with coastal communities to develop sustainable livelihood activities appropriate to local environments and cultures.
Our community-based aquaculture initiative in Madagascar is providing coastal people with new sources of income while alleviating pressure on fisheries and marine biodiversity. We’re helping families to develop their own aquaculture businesses for seaweed and sea cucumbers, connecting isolated coastal communities with lucrative international markets. Fishers can adopt these sustainable livelihoods with little negative impact on the marine environment as they require no feed inputs.
Sea cucumbers (known as trepang after processing) are in high demand in Asian markets where they are considered a delicacy, health food and aphrodisiac, while red seaweed is widely used in food and cosmetics industries as a texturing agent.
Our aquaculture specialists provide materials and technical guidance, and assist with start-up costs. Every year new farmers and villages join our aquaculture programme, and over half of the farmers supported by Blue Ventures are women, who often use this new income to help pay for children’s school fees and supplement their family’s diet.
We have trained over 700 people to become farmers of sea cucumbers (Holothuria scabra) and red “cottonii” seaweed (Kappaphycus alvarezii) within locally managed marine areas. Working with the University of Toliara’s Marine Science Institute (IHSM), seafood exporter Copefrito and aquaculture company Indian Ocean Trepang (IOT), we’re committed to sharing best practice in community-based aquaculture, and helping innovate new village-based aquaculture models that communities can take to scale.