Describe the degree of success you have had to date. How do you measure, both quantitatively and qualitatively, the impact on sustainability or enhancement of local culture, environment, heritage, or aesthetics? How has it transformed or contributed to the power of place or demonstrated the sustainability of tourism? How does your approach minimize negative impacts?
In 2004, Blue Ventures and its volunteers worked with the village of Andavadoaka to develop the world’s first community-run marine protected area for octopus – the village’s primary source of income. Seasonal closures were implemented to allow octopus to grow in size and number. The strategy not only ensures the long-term survival of octopus, but results in greater yields, 13 fold increases for fishermen, when closed areas are reopened. The project proved so successful that the Malagasy government it as a model in 2005 to implement similar closures across the country in order to improve octopus populations and fisheries. The Vezo people are defined by their way of life, living with the sea. In addition to ecological monitoring and research, socio-economic studies are conducted across the region by internationally trained researchers to measure the impact of conservation projects on community incomes, attitudes and lifestyles. Our programme in Fiji has been adapted to work with island communities who would like to diversify their fishing activities and set up authentic, alternative tourism which compliments rather than detracts from the traditional way of life. Blue Ventures are working closely with these communities to plan the impacts of opening the area to more tourism, communicating the heritage sometimes overlooked by other tourism programmes and ensuring the benefits are shared amongst all parts of the communities.