The Aspinall Foundation

Awareness Raising and Environmental Education in Maevatanana/Ambato-Boeni

Posted by The Aspinall Foundation on 01-Jul-2024 16:39:20

We are now in the second half of our 12 month project in Maevatanana/Ambato-Boeni , a project made possible thanks to the support of Fondation Segré through IUCN Save Our Species, and we wish to bring you the second of our mid-term updates on some of the activities taking place. 

A key component of the project is ensuring the local fishers are fully aware of the laws and regulations regarding fishing, and this includes topics such as the importance of observing the closed season, which is essential to allow the fish stock to recover, and the requirement to use regulation fishing nets. It has become common practice to re-purpose mosquito nets and their fine mesh results in widespread damage through the capture and death of immature fish.

IMG_20240316_125839_794 Awareness Raising and Environmental Education with Fishers © Mamitiana Henriette Raharimalala, The Aspinall Foundation Madagascar

Our team arrange and attend the meetings with local fishers, which are conducted by the Regional Representative of the Ministry of Fisheries and Blue Economy and the Representative of the Regional Direction of the Environment and Sustainable Development in Maevatanana.  During the meetings fishers are informed about the existing endemic fish species in the area, why it is important to work on their conservation, why it is important to respect closed season for fishing and what alternatives exist, alongside the regulations, for using appropriate fishing gear. 

MAB 2024 03 14-17 Awareness Raising and Environmental EducationAwareness Raising and Environmental Education with Fishers © Mamitiana Henriette Raharimalala, The Aspinall Foundation Madagascar 

Providing information and knowledge directly to the fishers enables them to transition to more sustainable fishing practices. This benefits the fish species and habitats and also ensures that local communities can benefit from fishing as a food and income source for the long-term.

MAB 2024 CB Rangers Capacity building and training for rangers © Mamitiana Henriette Raharimalala, The Aspinall Foundation Madagascar
Whilst many of the project’s activities focus on supporting the communities to operate more sustainable practices it is also necessary to ensure compliance to the existing rules and regulations. To assist in this regard our team are providing capacity building and training for rangers to receive theoretical and practical training on patrolling and reporting cases where they observe illegal activities, such as fishing during the closed season.

MAB 2024 03 21 Reforestation 2Saplings ready for transplantation © Mamitiana Henriette Raharimalala, The Aspinall Foundation Madagascar  

Forest restoration is another area that the project seeks to address. Existing farming practices have led to the destruction of forest in the area surrounding the waterways. One of the effects of uncontrolled deforestation, combined with poor agricultural practices, is the destabilisation of the natural ecology which would protect the quality of the water. For example, siltation is a major threat to lakes and rivers. Without the trees to stabilise the land and absorb rainwater the soil is eroded with each downpour and it is deposited along the banks of the waterways, blocking the natural flow of water and contaminating the lakes and rivers. Chemical pollutants from agriculture further compound the deterioration of the water quality.   

MAB 2024 03 21 ReforestationForest restoration © Mamitiana Henriette Raharimalala, The Aspinall Foundation Madagascar 

As part of the project the local communities are repairing some of the damage by participating in reforestation activities. In collaboration with the Representation of the Regional Direction of Environment and Sustainable Development Boeny-Betsiboka in Maevatanana, who provided 500 saplings, we have conducted our first reforestation session with the VOI Mitsinjo in Marofototra. We are delighted to confirm that all 41 members attended the reforestation session.

Our Aspinall Madagascar team have always been aware that conservation success requires a holistic approach involving multiple activities and significant local community involvement. We know we are biased, but we think they are a brilliant team, doing amazing things. However, we never lose sight of the long road ahead to bring about long-lasting change and, with the impact of negative factors such as the Covid-19 pandemic and existential threats such as climate change, their work is much needed now and in the foreseeable future.

We are grateful to Fondation Segré, and IUCN, for their support with this project. IUCN Save Our Species aims to improve the long-term survival prospects of threatened species. It also focuses on supporting the species' habitats and working with the communities who share this habitat. It achieves success by funding and coordinating conservation projects into multiple initiatives across the globe.

Topics: The Aspinall Foundation, Madagascar

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