|Bay of Ranobe||Madagascar||Africa, Marine, Turtle||8 Nov 2012|
Despite the international and national protection status for marine turtles in Madagascar, turtles are hunted and turtle meat is consumed by the Vezo coastal communities throughout the Southwest region. Initial data from the turtle study in 2008/09 revealed that the capture, trade, and wholesale of turtle meat is widespread with all segments of society partaking in its consumption. This resulted in the formation of the first grassroots marine turtle management association in Madagascar, referred to as the FANO Project. Thus the FANO project endeavours to bring together both ethnographic information and biological data to assess the human-turtle interaction and implement management strategies that mutually protect both turtle populations and the Vezo way of life. The alliance of community leaders/elders and turtle fishers through the region provides the FANO project with a platform to 1) strengthen traditional customs and consumptive taboos that underpin the cultural significance of marine turtles; 2) establish a functional network of motivated participants; 3) provide FANO project members on-going training and support for a dedicated community–led effort.
If the Vezo tradition of consuming marine turtle meat is to persist, management strategies need to be implemented to protect marine turtle populations utilising the waters off the Southwest coast of Madagascar. With the assistance of the Rufford Small Grants Foundation support will be offered to remote Vezo communities providing them with the tools to make informed management decisions. Through this study we hope to encourage a highly dedicated community-lead team who have the ability to develop and implement their own management strategies. Thus the FANO project seeks to become an innovative working model and a platform for marine turtle conservation throughout the Western Indian Ocean.
Read about Emma's previous grant http://www.ruffordsmallgrants.org/rsg/projects/emma_gibbons or for more information contact: