Learning Journeys
Blue Ventures - Madagascar
Location: Andavadoaka, Madagascar
Purpose : Marine Conservation Charity
NEEDS:    The main objective of the Blue Ventures research program in the area is to survey and chart the unexplored coral reefs of the region, studying their biodiversity and health, and assessing the potential threats to these unknown ecosystems.

Blue Ventures' research program has diversified into the provision of alternative livelihoods for many in the region, which includes the first community-managed Marine Protected Area. In Spring 2003, Blue Ventures established its new permanent field research site in the villages of Andavadoaka in Southwest Madagascar. Andavadoaka lies on the edge of a shallow lagoon, protected from the open ocean by a series of fringing coral reefs. In addition to the extensive fringing reefs, several banks rise up in the lagoon, and a series of uninhabited offshore islets and submerged barrier reefs also support substantial coral growth, providing a vital resource base for local traditional and artisanal fisheries.

The project was launched as a collaborative venture between Blue Ventures Conservation and the Institute Halieutique et des Sciences Marines (IHSM) in response to the need to develop a better understanding of the area's unique marine and coastal habitats.

The reef systems of Andavadoaka are thought to possess a significantly higher abundance and diversity of marine life than any other reef in Madagascar. This is due partly to their remoteness and isolation, as well as the large distance to the nearest scientifically-studied reef habitats in SW Madagascar - in the Ranobe region some 250km to the south.

Despite the uniqueness of this marine habitat, no data on the status of the reefs existed prior to the establishment of our research site in the area.

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