Story by Dan Guerin
On 17th August, the Marine Protected Areas (MPA) committee for Rose Garden and Ankaranjelita hosted a special event to present the great achievements of these successful marine parks in the touristic centre of Mangily. The MPA committee members ReefDoctor, FI.MI.HA.RA; the fisheries association for the Bay of Ranobe and local stakeholders (dive-shops and hoteliers) delivered an entertaining and informative afternoon.
Together, the committee manages two MPAs; Massif de Rose (Rose Garden) and Ankaranjelita. Both sites are coral reef systems situated within the Bay of Ranobe, where fishing is forbidden and tourist access is controlled in an effort to promote and aid their natural recovery. The MPAs also provide the local tourist industry with unique sites where shallow-water snorkelling and diving are easily accessible by boat or Pirogue (a type of out-rigger canoe). Tickets for entry can be purchased locally, the proceeds from which are directly invested into ongoing conservation and protection efforts.
The establishment of MPAs has become crucially important for the marine environment worldwide, particularly in areas of gross overfishing and exploitation. MPAs provide refuge to a wealth of otherwise declining species, allowing them to develop and thrive within a relatively safe environment. Evidence suggests that the proper management of MPAs can also help to increase and sustain fisheries stock in adjacent, unprotected areas.
Environment and fisheries government ministers, fishermen from the north of Madagascar on an exchange program funded by WWF, local fisherman, hoteliers and other businesses attended the MPA day, which aimed to promote the support of MPAs and to educate attendees on the continued work undertaken by the MPA committee within these areas. Presentations were given both in Malagasy and French to a well-attended audience. A special appearance was also made by the Junior ReefDoctors, who made their own presentation followed by the performance of a song written specifically for this event.