2016 was a landmark year for Blue Ventures, so we’ve pulled together some highlights. These accomplishments were only possible thanks to the support of our friends, partners and thousands of individuals like you who share our vision, many of whom have joined us on our field projects worldwide.
As part of the Our Sea Our Life Project, we have been working to improve the resilience of coastal ecosystems and community well-being in Mozambique. Drawing from our successes in Madagascar, we are supporting coastal communities with reef closures and octopus fisheries management, using mobile technology to monitor fisheries data.
Our published work has highlighted the staggering rate of mangrove loss in Madagascar: an area equivalent in size to 80,000 football pitches between 1990 and 2010. Knowing the national rate of mangrove loss is vital in order to inform national policy, and this research is a step closer to ensuring sustainability for the tens of thousands of coastal people in Madagascar that rely on mangrove exploitation for their livelihood.
March saw the launch of the first ecotourism and marine conservation expedition in Timor-Leste. As a part of the GEF Dugong and Seagrass Conservation Project, and with the support of Wilstar, we’re using our award winning expedition tourism model to drive grassroots marine conservation action in this incredible biodiversity hotspot.
Having worked alongside each other in the Indian Ocean for years, we were delighted when a new strategic collaboration was agreed in April between Blue Ventures and the World Wide Fund for Nature. This collaboration aims to both strengthen global awareness of the challenges facing tropical small-scale fisheries worldwide, and accelerate the uptake of incentive-based approaches to community-based marine conservation.
The reach of our holistic approach has been increasing thanks to new support partnerships with the Endangered Wildlife Trust and Peace Parks Foundation. Over the coming months and years, we will be accompanying them in their journeys to integrate community health services into their coastal resource management initiatives in Mozambique.
A Blue Ventures paper, published in Geoforum, has helped raise awareness of how the soaring global demand for seafood is affecting nomadic seafaring cultures, as well as the key role of Locally Managed Marine Areas in securing local fishing rights for traditional fishers.
The success of this prolific invasive species in Caribbean waters is a threat to reef biodiversity and coastal livelihoods alike, but this photo story outlines how our support is helping coastal communities in Belize to fight back by building a local market for lionfish.
“The entire conservation field has developed under something of a false premise that it is primarily about biodiversity science, when it is really about social change”
Blue Ventures Executive Director Dr. Alasdair Harris coauthored a piece for the Stanford Social Innovation Review discussing how conservation is rooted in solving social problems through scalable methods and prototypes that deliver results.
Our most ambitious exchange to date brought over twenty partners, fishers and conservationists from five different countries to Madagascar to visit key field sites and learn about community-based fisheries management.
Our Medical Director, Dr Vik Mohan, visited Indonesia and Timor-Leste in October to gauge interest of coastal communities in our integrated health and environment approach. The responses he received from them confirmed that our work would be of great value in both of these locations.
Mobile technology can improve the accessibility of vital fisheries information, and we’ve been supporting small-scale fisheries with a smart-phone based monitoring system. The ICT4Fisheries network, a collaboration between Blue Ventures and Abalobi for sharing best practice in information and communication technologies, had its introductory meeting in November.
Our holistic and interdisciplinary model is helping coastal communities build both social and ecological resilience to climate change by enabling them to manage their fisheries more sustainably, nurture and safeguard healthy ecosystems, diversify their livelihoods, improve their health and achieve their desired family sizes.
These are challenging times for our tropical seas, but we believe wholeheartedly that our powerful message − that marine conservation can only be sustained when it’s in the hands of those that depend on the sea for their survival − is resonating with more and more coastal communities worldwide.
Join us on our journey.