Ending Destructive Industrial Fishing in Madagascar and the Western Indian Ocean

Photo Credit Garth Cripps
Grantee Blue Ventures Conservation
Grant Amount 750000
Duration Three Years

Madagascar is the fourth largest island in the world, benefiting from one of the largest Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in the Indian Ocean with a surface area of 1.14 million km2. As climate breakdown deepens and inland agriculture fails, people are increasingly turning to the sea to survive. Yet, in a region that already suffers high poverty and the highest food insecurity in the world, vital fisheries underpinning coastal economies are being decimated by industrial fishing and poorly managed local fisheries. The majority of these industrial vessels are not from the Western Indian Ocean (WIO) states, but comprise distant water fleets (DWF) from Europe and Asia. The WIO is a global hotspot for industrial illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing, with criminal operators looting the region's precious fisheries resources. Losses are estimated at $206–504 million a year for the region, $80 million just in Madagascar.

There is a critical need and opportunity to help the Malagasy authorities address IUU fishing and destructive industrial fishing in the WIO region and promote transparency, better fisheries management, and small-scale fishers (SFF) rights in Madagascar in particular. Blue Ventures is a marine conservation organisation that exists to protect life in our oceans. We were founded on the simple idea of putting communities at the heart of conservation. For almost two decades, we’ve supported coastal communities to develop locally led approaches to marine conservation that benefit people and nature alike.

With this project, Blue Ventures seeks to end destructive and illegal industrial fishing--its impact on fish stocks, the marine environment and vulnerable traditional fishers--and protect the rights of coastal communities in Madagascar. We will collaborate with and support the fisheries authorities in Madagascar to monitor their fisheries, improve transparency and management in the fisheries sector, and empower small-scale fishers in Madagascar through a 3-years project starting in September 2021.