As the year draws to an end we’ve pulled together some of our highlights of 2015. These accomplishments have only been possible thanks to the support of the friends, partners and thousands of individuals like you who share our vision, many of whom have joined us on our field projects worldwide.
Our analysis of shark fisheries in Madagascar produced practical recommendations to safeguard a critical marine resource whose future hangs in the balance. Our use of cameras and smartphones, to enable fishers to collect photo-validated georeferenced records of their catches, has created some of the Indian Ocean’s first high-resolution data documenting the status of artisanal shark fisheries.
“‘The rule book has to be ripped up. It’s about what people need.”
Blue Ventures was profiled in the Sunday Telegraph Magazine, one of several dozen high profile media features documenting our work over the last year, building growing global awareness of our work and mission.
Our conservation dive tour to Belize was named one of National Geographic’s 50 Tours of a Lifetime 2015; an accolade reserved for the most authentic, innovative, immersive and sustainable tours on the planet.
Our efforts to rebuild tropical fisheries with coastal communities received global recognition with the 2015 Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship, heralding the start of a new strategic focus on building new partnerships worldwide, to share our experiences with communities in new contexts.
Blue Ventures conservationists completed a six month journey across Madagascar with the Google Trekker, collecting panoramic imagery from some of the the island’s critical marine conservation sites, including the Nosy Hara and Barren Isles archipelagos. The resulting imagery allows a global audience to explore natural treasures of the world’s fourth largest island in 360° detail for the first time.
Our landmark study, published in the journal PLOS ONE, highlighted the compelling economic benefits of local fisheries management, and its role in catalysing community support for broader marine management efforts.
“By demonstrating that effective fisheries management can reap dividends, this model is playing a powerful role in building local support for marine conservation.”
We have expanded our health programme to bring vital health services to isolated fishing settlements in the remote Barren Isles archipelago, the largest locally managed marine area in the Indian Ocean.
Late August saw the arrival in Madagascar of some very special visitors – a group of Mexican fishermen traveled more than 17,500 kilometres to have a conversation with their local counterparts about octopus.
Coastal communities are the heart of everything we do, and our new photo story platform introduces some of the human stories behind our work. These voices shed light on the precariousness of many tropical coastal fishing economies, and the risks – and potential benefits – that communities face when embarking on a journey in conservation.
In October and November BV staff traveled to Timor-Leste, Bangladesh and China to establish and cement exciting new partnerships.
We’re embarking on a new programme in Timor-Leste, working with communities, government agencies, and conservation partners to develop locally-led marine conservation in the crucible of marine biodiversity. The Blue Ventures conservation tourism model will launch the programme in March 2016 as we invite volunteers to join us in shaping our work in Timor-Leste.
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.