Madagascar's first community-run marine protected area (Blue Ventures)

Demonstrating how partnerships can deliver marine conservation and sustainable livelihoods
2005 SEED Award Winner Biodiversity Andavadoaka, Madagascar

A partnership between the local community, international NGOs and research institutions aims to demonstrate the economic, conservation and fisheries benefits that can arise from establishing Madagascar’s first community-run Marine Protected Area (MPA).

The village of Andavadoaka, and its offshore islands represent some of the most remote and biodiverse coral habitats in the western Indian Ocean. The poverty-stricken Vezo population is entirely dependent on marine resources for subsistence and family income. Octopus constitutes the largest portion of marine life harvested in the region, caught through a fishing technique that is destructive to the underlying reef habitat. Fisheries data and observations from fishermen now indicate that octopus is overexploited.

The partnership is working with the Andavadoaka community to implement Madagascar’s first experimental community-run Marine Protected Area, developing management solutions to help sustain the traditional artisanal fishing economy as well as minimise the environmental impacts of human activities on the region’s marine and coastal environments.

Eco-inclusive impacts

Focusing not only on preserving marine life, the project also helped to improve the livelihood of the local community. In an effort to preserve the local octopus population and to increase the size (and value) of octopus caught in the region, an entire reef flat was declared an octopus no-take zone from November 2004 for a period of six months. The closure followed meetings with local stakeholders and was supported by a local law introduced specifically to protect the no-take zone.
The MPA project is also working to develop alternative sources of income, in particular ecotourism, aimed at generating revenue for the community and for the local management of the initiative.
  • Managing an area of 2,284km2, the size of 315,000 football pitches.
  • Introducing a carbon emissions reduction programme.



  • Boosting participation of the local population involved in community outreach work and protecting areas.
  • Providing funding for 100 scholarships in local schools.
  • Introducing a family planning programme and an integrated healthcare programme.
  • Developing and supporting alternative livelihoods in the marine area, including a programme for sea cucumber mariculture.




This enterprise is supported through its partnerships with various stakeholders, ranging from national and international organisations, investors, research institutes, suppliers, governmental bodies, NGOs, other social and environmental enterprises and more.

Andavadoaka community (Partner since 2005) and Velondriake community (Madagascar)

Copefrito (International business) (Partner since 2005, Madagascar)


Blue Ventures Conservation (Partner since 2005, United Kingdom)


Institut Halieutique et des Sciences Marines, Université de Toliara (Partner since 2005, Madagascar)

Wildlife Conservation Society (Int. NGO), Cooperative Maritime du 22ième Parallèle (Local cooperative) (Partner since 2005)

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