Blue Ventures is working to develop and scale innovative models for marine conservation within the poorest tropical coastal communities.
In many developing countries, Western models of conservation have struggled to achieve success or scale. One common reason is that very poor communities often have little incentive to protect nature for its own sake.
Blue Ventures has achieved remarkable success in Madagascar over the past decade through piloting a different approach: demonstrating to communities that small actions, such as a temporary octopus fishery closure, can bring tangible – and rapid – benefits. By working with villages Blue Ventures pioneered a series of such closures along the western coast, leading to a doubling of average village income and a more than five-fold increase in catches.
Their work has led to the creation of the largest locally managed marine area (LMMA) in the Western Indian Ocean – Velondriake – which includes 24 villages and over 7,000 people. Within this area the group works to set up sustainable aquaculture businesses, mangrove protection schemes, and integrated health and conservation programmes.
At the core of Blue Ventures’ approach is developing models of conservation that are sustainable over the long-term, and can be replicated to similar situations in other countries.
Madagascar has extremely high poverty levels; in the communities where Blue Ventures works over three quarters of people live on less than $2 a day. This is combined with a high dependence on natural – especially marine – resources, and a governance vacuum where controls on fishing and other activities are almost non-existent. In this situation, community buy-in is not just desirable but essential for conservation to work over the long-term.
Synchronicity Earth provided core support to Blue Ventures to undergoing a strategic review, with the goal of identifying clear priorities to continue and expand its impact.