What is the origin of your innovation? Tell your story.
Blue Ventures is an award-winning not-for-profit that partners with local communities to conserve threatened marine habitats and resources for the betterment of people and nature. Funded almost entirely through ecotourism revenue, Blue Ventures brings paying volunteers to project sites and trains them in scientific research, community outreach and on-the-ground conservation.
Blue Ventures believes that environmental protection and economic development can – and must – go hand-in-hand. Since 2003, we have partnered with the remote fishing villages along Madagascar’s southwest coast in an effort to protect the marine resources locals rely upon for survival.
In 2004, Blue Ventures and the village of Andavadoaka established the world’s first community-run marine protected area for octopus. The project not only ensures the long-term survival of octopus, but results in greater yields for local fishermen. The project proved so successful the government of Madagascar in 2005 used the project as a model to create similar strategies across the country to promote octopus populations and fisheries.
Blue Ventures is now working with 25 villages across the region to create a vast network of marine and coastal protected areas spanning 800 square-kilometres, benefiting more than 10,000 people and protecting coral reefs, seagrass beds, mangroves and other threatened habitats.
Along with traditional conservation strategies, Blue Ventures is developing sustainable alternative livelihoods for people living in the region. We are building an ecotourism lodge in Andavadoaka that will be fully owned and managed by local villagers and will be powered by clean solar and wind energy. The ecolodge will serve as an economic incentive to conserve the region’s natural beauty and resources while providing villagers with a sustainable alternative to destructive fishing practices.
Blue Ventures is also developing mariculture businesses in Andavadoaka, including algae, seagrass and sea cucumber farming, which will provide local communities with additional sustainable incomes.
Blue Ventures has won national and international recognition for its work. In 2005 Blue Ventures became the first European organisation to receive the SEED Award sponsored by the United Nations and the World Conservation Union to find the most innovative and entrepreneurial partnerships for sustainable development. In 2004, 2006 and 2007, Blue Ventures received “Highly Commended” honours from the Responsible Tourism Awards. In 2006, Skal, the world’s largest organisation of travel and tourism professionals, named Blue Ventures winner of its International Ecotourism Award. In 2007, Blue Ventures was named by National Geographic Traveler Magazine as one of the world’s “Top 50 Tours of a Lifetime.”
Andavadoaka village, Blue Ventures’ primary partner in Madagascar, won the UN’s prestigious Equator Prize in 2007 for its work with Blue Ventures and others to create community-based conservation and sustainable development projects.