Coastal communities across much of the Indian Ocean depend on healthy marine resources for subsistence, income and cultural identity. However, marine ecosystems are being degraded at unprecedented rates and there is an urgent need to diversify coastal livelihoods towards more environmentally sustainable practices.
We are pioneering new approaches to community-based aquaculture, providing coastal communities in southwest Madagascar with lucrative, environmentally sustainable and socially viable alternatives to fishing.
Launched in 2006, communities are now farming sea cucumbers (Holothuria scabra) and red seaweed (Kappaphycus alvarezii). We provide business management training and technical support, linking these communities with international markets through a public-private partnership model involving well-established local fisheries export companies.These intertidal species offer a number of distinctive benefits for community-based aquaculture:
- Both species thrive in the region’s extensive shallow coastal lagoons and are in high demand from lucrative international export markets.
- Farming can be initiated with relatively low levels of initial investment and low running costs, with no adverse environmental impacts.
- Production methods are simple, requiring minimal initial training for the farmers.
- An active network of experienced private sector and research partners provides assured access to markets, as well as additional technical expertise to maximise the economic benefits brought to communities.
The introduction of aquaculture to these coastal communities aims not only to alleviate poverty but also to reduce fishing pressures exerted on the region’s fragile marine ecosystems.
Community Based Aquaculture in the Western Indian Ocean: Challenges faced and lessons learnedWIOMSA, Blue Ventures and the University of Dar-es-Salaam are holding a three-day workshop in Zanzibar, Tanzania from 9 - 11th December 2013, to improve understanding of progress in community based aquaculture (CBA) initiatives in the western Indian Ocean (WIO)
The main goal of the workshop is to provide a platform for scientists, technical experts, social entrepreneurs and community leaders engaged in community-based aquaculture projects in the region to share experiences, discuss the main opportunities and challenges faced, outline lessons learned and formulate recommendations on best practice.
Over the last 20 years CBA activities in the WIO have flourished, resulting in a dynamic and diverse field, bringing together communities, businesses, research institutions and NGOs in a range of commercial and non-profit orientated aquaculture endeavours.
Despite this expansion, very little is known about the impacts these programmes have had either socioeconomically or environmentally.
This workshop aims to address this critical need for improved information sharing, providing a unique opportunity for practitioners to come together ot discuss successful models suitable for broader replication, promotion of CBA activities, networking prospects, and recognising regional challenges.