About Us

Reef Doctor is a UK-based, nonprofit, tropical marine conservation organisation working in south-west Madagascar. Our organisation adopts a holistic approach to undertake coral reef conservation, through the integration of marine research, management, education, and social development initiatives. We work with local fishing communities to encourage the sustainable use of marine resources in order to protect ecologically valuable marine habitats and secure the future livelihoods of coastal communities. We believe that by educating and involving local communities in the sustainable management of marine resources they can become successful stewards of their own environment; our core organisational objectives have been formulated with this in mind.


Core Organisational Objectives


To pursue an applied scientific research agenda leading to effective education, conservation and social development.
To support and improve the welfare of populations that are largely dependent on the resources from coral reefs and associated marine environments.
To support community-led initiatives aiming to develop sustainable marine management practices and conservation action plans.
To support the development of alternative marine-  and non marine-based livelihoods.

To promote and participate in the education of local communities, businesses and tourists.

Reef Doctor works in the Bay of Ranobe, a semi-enclosed lagoon in south-west Madagascar extending from Morombe in the north to Toliara in the south. It consists of a diverse range of marine and coastal habitats including: barrier reefs, patch reefs, reef flats, extensive seagrass beds, and mangroves. The coral reefs in this region form part of the world’s third largest barrier reef system, the Toliara Barrier Reef Complex. Since 2002, Reef Doctor has been monitoring the status of the reefs, which are under serious threat from poverty-driven over-exploitation of marine resources, sedimentation, global climate change and coastal development.

Our project site is located next to the Vezo fishing village of Ifaty, 27 km north of the provincial city of Toliara. We collaborate with the Marine Institute of Toliara, the Institut Halieutique et des Science Marines (IH.SM), and the University of Toliara. Reef Doctor works in all of the 13 fishing villages found along the shore of the Bay of Ranobe, with particular focus on Ifaty and the popular tourist destination of Mangily.


Our Objectives in the Bay of Ranobe

To assess and monitor the health of the marine ecosystems in the Bay of Ranobe and associated artisanal fishery, relaying this information to the local resource users, regional/national bodies and international institutions.


To create a fishing council run by the local resource users in order to establish sustainable management practices to secure resources for future generations.


To help support the fishing council with community lead initiatives for sustainable marine management (e.g. community-managed marine reserves, rotational no-take zones, providing alternatives to destructive fishing techniques, etc.).


To create and support the development of aquaculture initiatives for the local communities as alternative sources of revenue.


To undertake initiatives to restore degraded coral reef habitats through the use of coral reef restoration techniques.


To create alternative fishing areas within the lagoon for the local resource users by creating new artificial reefs.


To undertake initiatives to help restore and protect intertidal habitats (mangroves and seagrass beds).


To promote and participate in the education of the local children and adults in environmental awareness and reef conservation practices.


To implement a marine focused environmental curriculum into the local public primary schools of the Bay.


To promote and participate in the education of tourists about the fragility of coral reefs, how to protect them, and the benefits of responsible tourism.


To help create and support the development of alternative incomes.


To undertake initiatives for the social-economic development of the local communities.


To help protect the traditional and cultural knowledge of the Vezo communities for future generations.