WCS is a leading technical partner helping the Government of Madagascar meet its commitment to expand the country’s network of marine protected areas and to sustain near shore fisheries. WCS has assisted in the creation, and management of four marine parks and 25 Locally Managed Marine Areas (LMMAs) in the southwest, northwest and northeast of Madagascar. These LMMAs which focus on empowering local communities to be able to take greater responsibility for marine natural resource management, thus ensuring closer alignment with local populations’ interests. LMMAs have proven to be a successful governance model in sustaining small-scale fisheries and improving people's livelihoods.
Through its Ocean Giants Program, WCS leads research and conservation on marine mammals in Madagascar, with a focus on humpback whales, cetacean status assessment and coastal dolphin conservation. We have worked extensively on the west coast of Madagascar over the last decade to assess cetacean diversity and population status from the southwest in Toliara to the northwest around Nosy Be. Our direct conservation work has included extensive engagement with Vezo communities in the Southwest to shift local fishers’ attitudes and habits away from dolphin hunting and establish alternative livelihoods, and a long-term study of vulnerable coastal dolphin populations in the Northwest to ensure viability of currently healthy and abundant populations. Most recently our work in the Ankivonjy Marine Protected Area in the Northwest has uncovered remarkable cetacean diversity including some rare and endangered species, in the midst of rapidly progressing oil and gas industry development.