| Dec 19, 2022
Empowerment through Biodiversity Conservation
Project Oratsimba: Phase IV is supporting the communities of Sainte Luce and Elodrato in strengthening their Locally Managed Marine Areas (LMMAs); areas of protected ocean that are managed by coastal communities. As part of a range of management measures, both communities have decided to implement a No Take Zone (NTZ), an area of key habitat where – for most of the year – lobster fishing does not take place, giving marine life a chance to recover and regenerate, thus ensuring the security of lobster stock in the region.
The NTZs opened this year in July, and the payoff has been immense.Some fishers were reporting landings as much as five times higher than normal. The president of the Sainte Luce Fisheries Management Committee was particularly proud to see the payoff from this community-elected initiative:
“Because of the NTZ, our life has changed. Before the NTZ, we, were really suffering because there were hardly any lobsters and fish… Even our kids did not go to school anymore as we could not afford the school fees. It has been going very well since the existence of the NTZ. Now, the kids are going back to school in September.”
Before the NTZ, fishers were struggling to catch enough and afford costs, such as school fees, but with management measures in place, this has started to change. A fisher from Elodrato, shared this sentiment and support of the closure, stating “My catch on the first opening day was 5.6kg [of lobster]. I don’t normally catch that much, but that happened because of this NTZ.”
Community-based approaches are key strategies for marine conservation and sustainable management, enabling resource users to assume responsibility for the management of marine resources.