Community-driven seagrass protection and monitoring

C3 Madagascar
Published: 20 December 2021
Last edited: 20 December 2021
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Summary

Conservation Centrée sur la Communauté (C3), is a Malagasy association focused on marine conservation, which started to operate in 2009 in the North of Madagascar. Our mission is to expand conservation efforts worldwide by building the capacity of individuals and local institutions through research and training initiatives.

C3 was the first NGO in Madagascar to introduce the internationally-standardised SeagrassWatch methodology and assisted other NGOs and government marine science agencies in technical capacity building. We combined seagrass data collection with key informant interviews on the presence and habitat utilisation of the endangered Dugongs and Green sea turtles in order to map hotspots for long-term monitoring and protection.

Our community stewardship approach has also led to the enforcement of gillnet bans in areas important for endangered species and community-based reporting on infractions and endangered species sightings.

Classifications

Region
East and South Africa
Scale of implementation
Local
Subnational
Ecosystem
Coral reef
Mangrove
Marine and coastal ecosystems
Seagrass
Theme
Restoration
Species management
Traditional knowledge
Species Conservation and One Health Interventions
Species Status Assessment
Challenges
Ecosystem loss
Poaching
Lack of access to long-term funding
Poor monitoring and enforcement
Lack of food security
Unemployment / poverty

Location

Nosy Hara marine park | Ambodivahibe KBA, Bay of Rigny KBA, East of Antsiranana KBA

Challenges

  • Lack of data availability on seagrass in the area and country
  • Lack of technical and financial means to conduct extensive mapping and monitoring of seagrass meadows
  • Seagrass degradation occurring in the region due to the practice of destructive fishing methods (illegal fishing gears) and silting
  • Lack of knowledge and awareness among coastal fishing communities on the importance of seagrass ecosystems
  • Lack of access to sites offshore which are generally more pristine and significant (in relatively good condition and serve as a refuge for endangered marine species and a haven for healthy fisheries)
  • Lack of local people's education beyond primary
  • lack of access to appropriate boats, training etc.
  • lack of resources for community patrolling
  • lack of awareness among law enforcement and prosecution services regarding wildlife and fisheries law

Beneficiaries

  • Fishing communities from the Nosy Hara marine park, Antsiranana (all KBAs)
  • Youth (primary, secondary, tertiary)
  • Women associations
  • community MPA management associations
  • the police

How do the building blocks interact?

Seagrass mapping is challenging, because this ecosystem can’t be surveyed with satellite images or other similar devices. It is also often an ecosystem that is less known among coastal communities and the wider public. The fact that dugongs are still observed helped us a lot. We engaged fishermen in our survey based on their observations of this emblematic animal, instead of focusing only on seagrass. We obtained good results that allowed us to map approximately the seagrass meadows areas. It was easier then to go physically on site, to produce a more accurate map.

The seagrass monitoring was possible once we had the map. It is important to conduct an annual assessment of these seagrass beds, in order to monitor their condition and density.

In parallel, intensive outreach and education about seagrass, its value in the wider marine system and its relevance to the health of local fisheries, are conducted at schools and public events.

Impacts

  • Map of seagrass hotspots with data on species, density
  • Map of dugongs' feeding areas
  • Database on seagrass state, with monitoring results
  • Creation of Locally Managed Marine Areas, run by communities
  • Appreciation and understanding about the role of seagrass (and megaherbivores) in the health of coastal ecosystems and fisheries

Contributed by

ramiandrisoamihary_41442's picture

Mihary Ramiandrisoa Conservation Centrée sur la Communauté