Fostering Adaptation to Climate Change Through Fisheries Management and Community Health - Madagascar
But climate change is threatening the environment these octopus live in – and the well-being of these communities – through coral bleaching, and more frequent and intense cyclones and droughts. At the same time, these communities face a serious lack of family planning services. Growing families are placing additional pressures on dwindling natural resources, bringing the societies there to a bottleneck.
At the same time, Blue Ventures also responded to Vezo community demand by supplying couples with family planning
products so that they can freely choose the number, timing, and spacing of their children. Contraceptives are
provided to community distributors, who sell them within their village for a small profit.
Helping the planet
The initiative’s fishing closures are allowing the marine ecosystem to regenerate, leaving it more resilient to climate-related changes like coral bleaching. The temporary closures also act as important stepping stones to broader conservation initiatives that underpin ecological adaptations to climate change, by inspiring communities to establish permanent marine and mangrove reserves. Providing birth control will also benefit the environment, as fewer unplanned children mean reduced consumption of natural resources.
Enabling women and couples to better plan and provide for their families is improving food security and allowing for greater investment in education. Smaller and healthier families who are sustainably managing their natural resources are able to make more money and improve their quality of life, as evidenced by proven increases in housing size and key household assets in the project area.
The project has already been scaled from just one pilot village, to being implemented in more than 40 communities along southwest Madagascar’s coastline in just five years. Plans are to further expand it to 20 more communities. The initiative can be adapted to various ecological and social contexts – for example, Blue Ventures is also supporting communities in temporary closures of mangrove fishing grounds, aimed specifically at increasing mud crab production.
The project’s market-based approach of pinning sustainable natural resources management to increased profits creates a win-win situation suitable for expansion, particularly in areas with dual pressures of dwindling natural resources and increasing population. In fact, the temporary fishery closures have proved to be easily and rapidly scalable in themselves, going from one single village in 2004 to more than 150 closures held in Madagascar so far.
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