Turning the Tide for Coastal Fisheries

Entry Overview

Locally managed marine areas successes in Antongil bay, North East Madagascar
Entrant Image: 
Wildlife Conservation Society
15° 25' 59.9988" S, 49° 45' 0" E
Describe the problem: 

In Antongil Bay, Madagascar, conflicts occur between poor artisanal fishers and industrial fleets whose fishing zones overlap. Fish populations and their habitats have been damaged by illegal activities and use of destructive devices such as beach seines and trawlers and by the conversion of mangroves into pasture or rice fields. A holistic approach to address the problems of Antongil Bay from ridge to reef was chosen. Central to this is the creation of a platform for dialogue (called by its French acronym PCDDBA), involving all stakeholders. This is the first time such a platform is being used successfully in Madagascar. It creates an environment that allows and encourages all stakeholders to work together towards a program of sustainable management of marine and coastal resources.

Biodiversity Impact: 
Through PCDDBA an agreement between the artisanal and industrial fishers has been reached in order to reduce conflicts arising from the destruction of artisanal fishers' nets by trawlers. In parallel, a ministerial decree prohibiting the use of beach seines and fishing equipment made with mosquito nets was released in 2006 by the Ministry responsible for fisheries, based on a recommendation of the platform. Consultation and joint planning between the different stakeholders in Antongil Bay has led to the development in 2008, through a bottom-up approach of a zoning plan for marine and coastal areas of the Bay, a first-of-its-kind community-driven resource zoning plan for 32 communes directly bordering the Bay. This zoning plan has directly resulted in: 1) the implementation of 7 locally managed marine areas (LMMAs) totaling 1991 hecares, formalized through DINA (a local social convention) and managed by LMMA local committees (6 other villages of the Bay are currently in the process of setting up their own LMMA, leading to the creation of the largest network of LMMAs in Madagascar); 2) the creation of 2 unions of fishermen's associations involving more than 300 fishermen; 3) the creation of local vigilance committees for illegal fishing practices in 9 coastal villages, with more than 350 volunteers responsible for enforcing the regulations relating to fishing, including the fight against illegal beach seines. These achievements and activities provide the basis for better management of fishery resources, and are promoting the recovery of fish stocks in the Bay.
Human Well Being and Livelihood Impact: 
Antongil Bay has 270 km of coastline, and is home to about 150,000 people living in 95 villages in 14 coastal municipalities. Many of these people are extremely poor, and dependent largely on livelihoods derived from the collection and sale of marine resources. In 2011, a participatory assessment was conducted to determine whether people perceived the state of Antongil Bay and its resources had changed as a result of these efforts over the past 5 years to reduce conflicts and improve fisheries management. Local community members noted an increase in catch per unit of effort; an increase in the size of the fish caught; an increase in the abundance of juvenile fish in the sea; an increase in local capacity to manage their resources; a decrease in the use of beach seines; and an increase in economic revenue from fishing. All of these results suggest there has been a very strong positive impact on local livelihoods from the participatory ridge-to-reef approach to fisheries management in Antongil Bay. // The Platform for Collaborative Sustainable Development in Antongil Bay (PCDDBA), is a structure for formal consultation. It was established in 2003, and includes and involves all stakeholders and users of marine and coastal environments of Antongil Bay. PCDDBA's mission is to "ensure the integrity of the biological, ecological, socioeconomic functions of Antongil Bay and promote the sustainable development of its surrounding areas through consistent actions and consultations." One of the core foundations of the ridge-to-reef approach in Antongil Bay is the decentralization of decision-making structures by the introduction of multi-level consultations and discussions that occur across multiple scales: from the village at the smallest, most local level, up to the Bay as a whole. In the consultation sessions, at all levels, local communities are fully integrated into the decision-making process as their representatives are always present and the views of communities are always included in all discussions. This ensures that the interests of the villagers are considered equally along with those of the authorities or private companies. This ridge-to-reef approach in Antongil Bay is developed so that local communities are enabled and encouraged to take more responsibility in the development and management of the region's natural resource use, and allows them to defend their interests successfully.
How many years has your solution been applied? 5 years // Have others reproduced your solution elsewhere? No // The holistic and systemic ridge-to-reef approach for fisheries management in Antongil Bay is based on collaboration and fluid communication among all stakeholders. An information system for the Bay was developed to facilitate information sharing among multiple levels and among all stakeholders, from community members to local government agencies. Problems affecting the marine and coastal areas are identified by all stakeholders. These are then shared and discussed at a round table to which all stakeholders are invited. Many key stakeholders are active participants in these round table discussions. After negotiation, joint planning is defined. In each village, delegates have been designated by communities to represent their interests in the platform that promotes and coordinates activities in the Bay. Local consultation committees (e.g., communal forum), are established for those involved in each geographical area. In parallel, particular groups with special interests, such as the network of LMMA managers, meet regularly to discuss, analyze and plan joint actions. For each stakeholder group to be able to effectively play its part in the consultation and implementation of planned actions, capacity building activities through various means (training, provision of tools, support and technical advice etc.) are implemented by PCDDBA and WCS.
Fishing communities around Antongil Bay are poor, and are dependent upon local coastal resources as a source of livelihood and sustenance. They are often marginalized from decision-making processes and generally have little say in how resources of the Bay are used. The utilization of the participatory "ridge to reef" approach to manage fishery conflicts in Antongil Bay has helped to awaken the collective consciousness among these poor communities of fishers about the need to fight against threats to their livelihoods and the local fisheries. Thus, the local fishing communities have become more aware of their responsibility in the health of resources of the Bay. Through advocacy, protection, and controls performed by stakeholders from the Bay, they are more actively involved and engaged in protecting the biodiversity from the local threats caused by destructive fishing practices. The approach ensures active engagement by local communities, and integrates participation by local authorities together with communities in the process, since its inception. Currently, local communities have taken charge in the management of their fishing grounds and in coastal areas, leading to the reduction of the use of destructive fishing gear and the protection of critical habitats. // Antongil Bay, Madagascar's largest bay, is also one of the most productive bays in the Indian Ocean. It covers an area of 2,800 sq km and encompasses coral reefs, mangroves, seagrass beds and several estuaries. Scientific studies have found that the coral reefs of the eastern part of the Bay are among the world's reefs most resilient to the impacts of climate change. The Bay is a breeding, nursery and growth area for many marine species, including shrimp, many species of reef fish, and small pelagic fish. In addition, humpback whales, 3 species of dolphins, 19 species of sharks, dugongs and 3 species of sea turtles are regularly observed in the Bay.

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