We monitor reef fisheries in the Bay of Ranobe and facilitate sustainable community-led fisheries management
Since 2005, we have been leading a critical fisheries monitoring programme to understand current status, how fisheries are evolving, and to provide essential information to form the basis of a fisheries management plan for the Bay of Ranobe. Fisheries surveys currently take place in four of the bay’s fishing villages. The fishermen’s catches are recorded (fish weight and length, and species composition), along with other useful information such as fishing site and type of fishing gear, every month by our Malagasy Fisheries Officer.
The results of these surveys are collated into a long-term dataset, one of the most comprehensive fisheries databases in the region and the only one available for the Bay of Ranobe, and are analysed to assist local communities in the management of their marine resources. The data collected improves our understanding of the artisanal fishery in the Bay of Ranobe which is essential for its successful management and the protection of fish stocks for future generations. This data also contributes to regional and national studies relating to marine resource utilisation by local populations, and is available for utilisation by Madagascar’s Ministry of Fisheries.
The intensive exploitation of the reef fishery in the Bay of Ranobe and the high level of community dependence on these resources prompted us to implement a sustainable community-led management system. In 2006, we brought together the local fishing communities of the bay to form a marine conservation and management organisation with elected representatives to work with us. The association was called FIkambanana MIaro sy HAnasoa ny RAnomasina – Association to Protect and Enhance the Marine Environment (‘FI.MI.HA.RA’). This association is self-funded, the first of its kind to be established in Madagascar. We advise, educate, and facilitate FI.MI.HA.RA, as a direct link to the wider community, concerning a variety of marine conservation and fisheries management projects.
The FIMIHARA bureau (or committee) consists of a president, two vice presidents, a treasurer, two secretaries, two accountants, 16 advisers, and 20 active members. The active members elect all committee members and meet every two months with us to discuss their activities. These members represent all 13 villages in the bay (a total population of over 20,000 people). Over the last decade, we have guided the association in marine management initiatives, in particular the implementation and management of the two community-led marine reserves and the successful banning of the destructive fishing practise ‘beach seining’ in Ifaty village.
In 2016, the Madagascan Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources launched a fishermen licensing management system for the subsistence fishery of the southwest region and designated us as implementing partners for the Bay of Ranobe. This licensing system provides the first reliable baseline data for the number of fishermen reliant on the marine resources of the region, which is vital to guide future management of the fishery, and provide a platform from which marginalised communities can address the health and productivity of the sea.