Antongil Bay is the largest semi-enclosed bay in Madagascar and is among the most productive in the Indian Ocean, also serving as a mating and nursery ground for many marine species.
150,000 subsistence farmers and fishers live in
95 villages along the Bay. In order to reverse decline in fish resources, since 2008 the Wildlife Conservation Society has worked with several coastal villages in the bay to establish Locally Managed Marine Areas (LMMA). Each LMMA includes at least a no-take area and gear and species restrictions. To date 20 of these LMMAs spread over 10 municipalities along 200 kilometers of coastline have been formalized. In 2013, the 20 community associations managing these LMMA created a coalition (Federation of Antongil Bay LMMA) to facilitate discussions among LMMA representatives and with Government officials. At the end of 2013, each community association received equipment to facilitate patrolling and law enforcement activities such as flashlights, binoculars and a motorized boat for the Federation. These community associations are working with government authorities to enforce the law in each LMMA. In 2013 9 offenders to LMMA rules were arrested and 15 prohibited nets were seized. In April 2013 underwater reef surveys have been conducted to assess LMMA impacts on fish density and biomass and substrate cover. The results demonstrate a significant higher fish density and biomass inside LMMA no take zones compared to fishing sites outside LMMA, highlighting LMMA management effectiveness.