Interview surveys with Malagasy fishers, aimed at gathering traditional knowledge and information on hunting and by-catch of all marine mammals, were conducted in 58 vil- lages in 13 locations along the west coast by the WCS Ocean Giants team, during five dif- ferent expeditions between 2008 and 2011.
There were a total of 533 reports of dugongs spread across 6 decades, with 318 reports of ‘hunting’, 110 reported ‘by-caught’, 101 re- ported sighted ‘live’ and four reported
‘stranded’. There is evidence for a decline in
numbers of sightings and individuals captured in hunting and by-catch during the most re-
cent decade (2000- 2010), and shifts in the relative distribution of reports over time, suggesting that populations in some locations may be more impacted or near extirpated.
Thus prompt conservation action is needed in order to conserve the remaining populations and mitigate further impacts from continued hunting and by-catch. A GEF funded project with the objective to improve the conserva- tion status of dugongs and their seagrass habitats across the Indian and Pacific Oceans basins is currently under development and will hopefully enhance the effectiveness of conservation of dugongs in Madagascar.