Madagascar’s Exclusive Economic Zone covers over
1,140,000 square kilometers of marine habitats, twice the area of the island. The length of the coast of
Madagascar is about 6000 km, which represents
nearly a third of the coastline of all countries of the Western Indian Ocean combined.
Madagascar is the country that hosts the second largest area of man- groves and the largest area of coral reefs in the West- ern Indian Ocean. The Island’s coastal habitats, spe- cifically its coral reefs and mangroves, provide many ecosystem services that directly impact the livelihoods of the Malagasy population, of who more than 50% live near the coast. Unfortunately, these coastal re- sources are in decline.
Fishery resources of high value, such as shrimp, sharks, and sea cucumbers have de- creased dramatically in recent years and 87% of coral reefs are threatened. Pressures that threaten the in- tegrity of Madagascar’s coastal and marine ecosys- tems, and by result impact livelihoods, are primarily destructive fishing practices, overfishing, pollution, sedimentation, unsustainable coastal development, and climate change impacts. To address these issues, the Malagasy government announced in 2010 the creation of several new marine protected areas (de- cree 52005-2010). WCS supports the creation and management of three of these new MPAs along Mada- gascar West Coast: Soariake MPA in the South West in partnership with WWF and Ankarea and Ankivonjy MPAs in the North West.
Regular meetings and consultative workshops with local authorities, tourism operators, and fishing communities were organized throughout 2012 to discuss and adopt Ankarea, Ankivonjy and Soariake Marine Protected Areas (MPA) goals, boundaries, zoning, regulations, and governance and manage- ment activities through a participatory approach in- volving all stakeholders. Thus at the beginning of the process, a series of workshops in each village were organized, during which local communities were able to present their vision for the sustainable manage- ment of fisheries resources while trying to develop a zoning plan, and an outline of the management plan fitting their needs and local realities.
This approach was adopted precisely in order to highlight the specificities of each community and area. Then public consultation workshops for each of the MPA were organized in June and July 2012 where each village shared the results of their discussions, WCS shared the results of scientific studies and the communities with the assistance of local authorities, WCS technical staff and stakeholders, started a discussion on the arrangements relating to the three MPAs. During these workshops the participants identified key is- sues to be addressed, developed a vision and goals for their MPA, defined operational objectives, identi- fied MPA zoning and rules, choose the type of gov- ernance system and the IUCN category of the MPA.
Based on the outputs of these discussions both MPA management plans were drafted and two workshops were organized in Ankarea and Ankivonjy MPAs sites in September and October 2012 to validate and adopt each MPA management. Then, in December 2012, two workshops were organized in Nosy Be and Toliara to present the three MPAs management plans to re- gional and national authorities As a result of this work it was decided that Ankarea and Ankivonjy MPAs fall into category V of the IUCN, and Soariake MPA category VI, with the communities, represented by the local Ankarea, Ankivonjy and Soariake associations at the center of decision-making and management of the MPAs, with technical assis- tance from WCS and local and national authorities.
The main goal for those three MPAs is to protect biodiversity, cultural heritage and ecological serv- ices and promote sustainable socioeconomic devel- opment to contribute to poverty reduction. Ankarea MPA (1,737 km2), located 50 km NE of Nosy Be, includes a large island, Nosy Mitsio, and an archipel- ago of 16 islands and islets, and is home to the most diverse coral reef of the Western Indian Ocean.
Ankivonjy MPA (1,967 km2), located 50 km SW of Nosy Be, includes coastal and marine ecosys- tems along the Ampasindava peninsula and offshore islands, including Nosy Iranja the most important nesting site for green turtle in Madagascar, and deep water habitats home to diverse, abundant and endangered cetacean populations. Soariake MPA (927 km2), located 80 km north of Toliara, pro- tect a portion of one of the biggest reef system in the world. These three MPAs protect extensive seagrass beds, mangroves and coral reef habitats as well as several iconic and endangered species
(i.e. marine turtles, blue whale, humpback whales, dugongs, whale sharks, dolphins ,
Madagascar fish eagle etc.).