A Breakthrough Moment for Coral Reef Conservation!
Nearly 3 years ago, staff and volunteers at the Madagascar Research and Conservation Institute (MRCI) set out to protect a portion of the reef surrounding Nosy Komba. This endeavour, spearheaded by Elizabeth Beauchamp, required countless hours of surveys and research to prove the value of coral reef conservation to locals and the conservation community. Once enough data was gathered, it was presented to all the village presidents of Nosy Komba, asking for their support in protecting this area. These presentations were a prime example of how MRCI marries conservation with local community involvement, and the result was a success!
On 24 November 2016, approximately 60,000 square surface meters were officially protected to include the reef, running from MRCI camp towards Ampangorina village. This achievement was marked by a celebratory breakfast with MRCI and many village presidents. Afterwards, everyone went out to place the buoys, marking the protected area. Involving the village presidents results in the support of the entire island, which is paramount to the success of the coral reef conservation.
So what does all of this mean? The reef is protected from boats anchoring, and from any fishing. MRCI actively monitors the area, ensuring no threatening activities occur over the reef. Also, this has provided a prime location for MRCI to place artificial reef structures to further attract corals and fish into the area. In the years to come, the reef should blossom into a sanctuary for coral, fish, and other sea life to take refuge and flourish.