April 24, 2012
Nosy Be Seascape in northwest Madagascar, is part of the center of marine biodiversity of the Western Indian Ocean. The coral ecosystems of northwest Madagascar have excep- tional value in terms of biodiversity, with high coral cover, a high number of coral species and high resilience to climate change. Throughout the year, whale sharks, dugongs, and healthy and abundant populations of small coastal cetace- ans and marine turtles live in this seascape. The main threats to this exceptional marine biodiversity are unsus- tainable fishing practices, oil exploration and planned drill- ing, a growing tourism industry, and mangrove destruction mainly for charcoal-making. Since 2010, WCS has been working with local communities and the government in the Nosy Be Seascape to create and manage, on behalf of the Ministry of Environment, two new Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), covering 70,000 hectares of critical habitats. The Ankarea MPA, 50 kilometers northeast of Nosy Be, includes one large island, Nosy Mitsio, as well as an archipelago of
16 neighboring islands. The Ankivonjy MPA, 50 kilometers southwest of Nosy Be, includes the coastal ecosystems of Ampasindava peninsula and marine ecosystems between the islands of Nosy Iranja and Ankazoberavina. During this process, WCS and its partners have been conducting inten- sive consultations and discussions with communities and all stakeholders. This has led to the creation of the Ankarea and Ankivonjy MPA Local Management Committees with members that include representatives of each village, pri- vate tourist operators, and local authorities. These Local Management Committees were given legal status on Janu- ary 23, 2012 when they were recognized as associations: Association Ankivonjy and Association Ankarea. Their goals are to: 1) preserve, protect, and manage natural resources of the MPA; 2) promote the sustainable development of fisheries and tourism; 3) manage conflicts arising from the use of natural resources in the MPA; 4) protect common interests in the area of the MPA; and 5) improve the living standards of communities in the area of the MPA. The first Local Management Committee’s General Meetings for each MPA took place in April 2012 followed by an information campaign in each village on the roles and missions of these new committees.