Blue Ventures works on developing networks of locally managed marine protected areas (LMMAs) in the southwest Indian Ocean, catalyzing coastal conservation by demonstrating the lasting economic benefits of sustainable fisheries management. Blue Ventures LMMA programs focus on three zones along Madagascar’s west coast, where they work to train and support communities throughout these LMMAs to monitor their natural resources and implement management systems that will enable them to stop or reverse the severe decline in catches especially for high-value fisheries.
Blue Ventures promotes community-based coastal management in Madagascar, and they have shown that peer-to-peer learning is a highly effective tool for building community capacity and catalyzing the local adoption of community-based management efforts. Many pioneering grassroots conservation initiatives are being developed in isolation, but Blue Ventures has found that communities tend to learn and understand much better from each other rather than from outsiders delivering formal training. Blue Ventures is working to link Madagascar’s numerous LMMAS into a network to promote the exchange of know-how experiences and ideas.
As an effort to ensure long-term financial sustainability, Blue Ventures strives to develop market-based mechanisms, providing economic incentives for stakeholders to conserve the ecosystems that underpin their livelihoods, while improving their wellbeing and protecting important biodiversity. Some of their mechanisms include an innovative volunteer ecotourism model, certifications for sustainable fisheries, and the production of carbon credits through Mangrove REDD+.
Blue Ventures has developed a model for marine conservation that avoids marginalizing resource users by engaging fishers directly in the development of short term fisheries closures, an approach that builds social capital while bringing clear economic benefits from small-scale fisheries management. The scale and pace of expansion of community-based marine management efforts in Madagascar is globally unprecedented; a direct result of this model. So far Blue Ventures’ work has seen the creation of over 160 fisheries closures, adopted by over 50 villages along over 400 kilometers of coastline in Madagascar, leading to the creation of at least eight vast locally-managed marine areas (LMMAs), including the three largest LMMAs in the entire Indian Ocean.