In 2002, Reef Doctor repaired and restored the research station on the University of Toliara’s land and set up permanent base here alongside the IH.SM (Marine Institute of the University of Toliara).
Between 2002-2003, Reef Doctor undertook pilot research projects on artificial reef habitats, IARCs (Indigenous Artificial Reef Constructions), which used locally sourced dead coral fragments as settling substrate for coral recruitment. This had moderate success in attracting new coral growth to degraded reefs.
In 2003, Reef Doctor repaired the local dilapidated public primary school in Ifaty and created a kitchen and eating area for the pupils. This ensured the continued provision of nutritional food from the World Health Organisation, and encouraged parents to send their children to school for their free meals.
In 2004 Reef Doctor help to create the Capricorn Coastal Alliance (CCA). This association enables effective collaboration between marine and coastal research and conservation groups active in southwest Madagascar.
In 2004, Reef Doctor hired four additional teachers for the public primary school in Ifaty. This included salary payment for the next four years and teacher training initiatives.
In 2004, Reef Doctor created a specific marine curriculum for the Bay of Ranobe. In 2006, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, and after training 34 teachers, this curriculum was implemented into 7 public primary schools, teaching 900 children about their local marine environment.
In 2007, Reef Doctor in collaboration with the Rotary Club Triscatin, France, installed a new storehouse to guarantee continued food provision from the World Health Organisation for the public primary school in Ifaty. New medical supplies were also provided for the new Ifaty medical clinic.
In 2007, Reef Doctor organised the formation of a local fishermen’s association, ‘FI.MI.HA.RA’, to facilitate the implementation of some basic, and innovative, fisheries management measures and to encourage local fishermen to become stewards of their own environment. This association, which is self reliant and responsible for its own finances, is the first of its kind to be established in Madagascar. Since its formation the association has had many achievements such as the successful banning of the destructive fishing practise ‘beach seining’ in Ifaty, policing marine reserves and mangrove replanting events.
Reef Doctor has been accommodating students from the School of International Training (SIT) since 2007, providing research facilities and project mentor staff.
In 2007, Reef Doctor created a Women’s Association, ‘FIVIETAMI’ for the village of Ifaty. This introduced local women to sources of alternative income, arts and crafts training and provided solar ovens for 17 families.
In 2007, Reef Doctor created a marine museum in Ifaty to promote marine education in the villages and for tourists.
Reef Doctor, alongside FI.MI.HA.RA, were instrumental in the creation of one of the first community-managed marine reserves in Madagascar, the Massif des Roses. In April 2007 a local law was adopted for the protection of this lagoonal patch reef. This important event has been published in the journal of Madagascar Conservation and Development (2009, Vol 4, Issue 1, pp 31-37).
Following the success of the Massif des Roses, Reef Doctor assisted FI.MI.HA.RA in the creation of an additional community-led marine reserve in 2008, Ankarajalita.
In 2008, Reef Doctor aided FI.MI.HA.RA in the establishment of octopus rotational no-take reserves in the north of the bay in order to increase the yield of the octopus fishery harvest. this was performed in collaboration with the UNDP SGP (Small Grants Programme and WWF).
In 2008 Reef Doctor brought together members of the turtle fishing community in the Bay of Ranobe to form an association for the protection of marine turtles, the ‘Reef Doctor Fano Project’. This was the first community-led turtle fisheries management association in the Western Indian Ocean.
In 2008, Reef Doctor, The Rotary Club Triscatin and EDF installed solar panels on Ifaty’s school roof to provide lights to expand classroom times and provide a venue for village meetings and events.
In 2010, Reef Doctor created a new Women’s Association, ‘FoMiray’, concentrating on training for arts and crafts manufacture to sell to tourists.
Reef Doctor presented a joint report with Blue Ventures on coral bleaching in south west Madagascar at the British Research Council conference in 2011.
In 2011 the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) provided funding for a Reef Doctor assessment of the curio trade in South West Madagascar.
In 2012, ReefDoctor presented its results from the turtle fisheries assessment project at the annual Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association (WIOMSA) conference in Kenya.
In 2012, Reef Doctor set up a governing body, Comité de Gestion, to maintain the marine reserve perimeters, to facilitate the distribution of funding generated by the reserves and to improve communication between the various stakeholders.
Reef Doctor provides regular capacity building, dive training and science education for Malagasy government officials working in the environment sector and for Malagasy students from the IH.SM (University of Toliara).
Reef Doctor is the selected external environmental consultant to the aquarium trade in the Bay of Ranobe in order to monitor its sustainability.
Reef Doctor’s initiative ‘Watch What You Eat’ has been introduced to the hotels and restaurants in the Bay of Ranobe to encourage them to remove certain species off menus during closed seasons and enforce minimum catch sizes, thereby aiding sustainable fisheries management measures.
The Reef Doctor Fano Project helped to create the first grass-root marine turtle management association in Madagascar, ‘Fikam-banana Paniriky Miaro ny Fano’ (FI.PA.MI.FA), in December 2012. In doing so, it is now illegal for turtle fishermen to land specimens under 70 cm and a closed fishery season will be enforced between December-March.
Reef Doctor has been a successful recipient of The Rufford Small Grants Foundation on two occasions (in 2009 and 2012). These grants have been used to fund Reef Doctor’s turtle fishery management programme.
In April 2014, Reef Doctor was awarded a 3-year Darwin Initiative grant. This funding is being utilized to promote the long-term survival of marine turtle populations through the incremental and adaptive implementation of a bay-wide aquaculture project that directly assists the marginalized fishing communities transition to sustainable livelihoods.
In early 2015, the local marine turtle management association FI.PA.MI.FA lead discussions, facilitated by Reef Doctor, that culminated in a landmark declaration from the village leaders of Ifaty in support of turtle conservation through the implementation of greater restrictions on the turtle fishery. The “Ifaty Declaration” now effectively bans the intentional killing of any turtles of any size. However, if a turtle is found dead, it may be consumed by the person that found it but may not be sold.
In 2015, a pilot artificial reef project was implemented to restore degraded reefs and to provide alternative fishing grounds to relieve pressure of fragile reefs.
In 2015, we built a community classroom to provide a formal teaching space for Kids Clubs, Junior ReefDoctors, and adult English lessons.
In 2016, a piroguier training course was implemented. This course promotes sustainable marine based livelihoods by equipping piroguers with the skills to work as marine guides in the local tourist industry.
In 2016, we initiated a sustainable charcoal initiative, providing the community of Tsivonoe with an alternative livelihood in the form of a tree plantation using indigenous tree. This will equip communities with a fast-growing, renewable resource that can be used for construction and more sustainable charcoal production, mitigating the effects of endemic forest deforestation (with Copefrito).
In 2016, the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources designated ReefDoctor as the implementing partner of a fishermen licensing management system. This provides the first reliable baseline data for the number of fishermen in the Bay of Ranobe and provides a platform from which marginalised communities can address the health and productivity of the sea.
Our Darwin Initiative-funded alternative livelihoods protect continues to go from strength to strength. Sea cucumber and seaweed farming as sustainable livelihood options have been developed in seven communities, generating over $24,000 USD in twelve months. The reduced economic incentive to hunt marine turtles has saved over 1,000 juveniles in two and a half years.