Conserving coral reefs is challenging anywhere in the world, but perhaps no more than in South West Madagascar. The Vezo – the traditional fishermen of the area - are amongst the poorest in the world.
In this arid and remote region, they rely on fishing for food and money. Their population doubles every 10 – 15 years, and with no other means of survival they have overfished stocks to the point of collapse. This over-exploitation, combined with climate change and sedimentation from up-stream deforestation, has led to the widespread degradation of coral reefs. The very resource on which the Vezo depend is in steep
To help prevent its demise, they must establish fishing reserves – areas of reef left untouched where fish stocks and the ecosystem can restore themselves over time. But how can they countenance closing areas to fishing when most depend on fishing?