Different approaches to marine conservation suit different geographies and different socioeconomic contexts. Once we have developed a model that works, we support coastal communities to share their experiences and perspectives of managing their marine resources, to enable fishermen and women to learn from one another.

We have over a decade of experience facilitating connections between coastal communities, from organising village exchanges to establishing regional and national networks of community leaders. We also drive adoption of our models by building networks of thought leaders in tropical coastal conservation and development, forging new partnerships and growing movements for change. We collaborate with various partners - NGOs, businesses, universities, governments and funders - to catalyse broader uptake of our models.

Sustainable fisheries

Over the last decade, our model for temporary octopus fishery closures has spread along thousands of kilometres of Madagascar’s remote western coastline, starting with a single village in 2004 and scaling up to more than 200 closures held by 50 communities to date.

This model has since been adopted by the neighbouring Mauritian island of Rodrigues, and applied to other fisheries including mangrove crabs and lobsters in the north and southeast of Madagascar. Exchanges trips and peer-to-peer learning have been key to facilitating the viral uptake of this sustainable management approach. We are now working with partners in Mozambique, Tanzania and the Comoros to help new communities replicate this model and build on our experiences to date.

Locally managed marine areas

Locally managed marine areas (LMMAs) are evolving as an exciting new approach to community-based coastal resource management in Madagascar and the Western Indian Ocean, with 62 LMMAs in the region today compared to just 5 in 2005. Over the last 7 years, 36 LMMAs have been established along Madagascar’s northern, western and southern coasts. Taken together, these initiatives presently cover 11.4% of the seabed: 10,929km2.

We are supporting this community-based marine conservation revolution by fostering connections between the Madagascar's LMMAs through exchange trips and supporting the MIHARI network, collaborating with partners including Conservation International, WWF and the Wildlife Conservation Society. This national LMMA network is enabling local managers to learn from each other’s experiences, and is strengthening their voice in influencing policy.

 
We have also organised international LMMA networking events, such as this workshop at the IUCN’s World Conservation Congress in South Korea, which brought together 16 LMMA representatives from across the Atantic, Indian and Pacific oceans, to share how their LMMAs were established and discuss practical ways to tackle common conservation challenges. The workshop enabled them to forge strong relationships that now underpin ongoing dialogue among LMMA communities worldwide.

Community health

We are supporting conservation partners in Madagascar to address the unmet health needs of their communities by adopting our integrated Population-Health-Environment (PHE) approach to conservation, in collaboration with well-established health agencies such as Marie Stopes and Population Services International. 

The Duke Lemur Center adopted this approach in Marojejy National Park in 2013 with technical advice from Blue Ventures, and in 2014 we will be convening a network of conservation and health partners in Madagascar with the aim of exploring opportunities for cross-sector working.

Aquaculture

We are creating a western Indian Ocean network for sharing lessons learned in community-based aquaculture, building on a regional workshop held in Tanzania in 2013.