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Short-term impacts and value of a periodic no take zone (NTZ) in a community-managed small-scale lobster fishery, Madagascar

Long, S..

The small-scale lobster fisheries of Madagascar’s impoverished southeast coast account for the majority of national catch and export, making a significant contribution to the regional economy. Data suggests catches have declined, likely due to over-exploitation. In response, the community of Sainte Luce has established a locally managed marine area (LMMA) to manage their lobster fishery, including a 13 km2 periodic no take zone (NTZ). Participatory monitoring data were used to assess compliance, identify changes in catch per unit effort (CPUE) associated with the NTZ and consider the short-term value of the NTZ. Compliance is low for measures dictated by national legislation (minimum landing size (MLS), national closed season, prohibition on landing berried females), but may be higher for those designed by the community (NTZ). Upon NTZ opening in July 2015, an estimated 435% increase in catch was observed compared with the mean for the preceding five months, a product of increased effort and significantly higher CPUE. Zero Altered Negative Binomial modelling showed CPUE was significantly higher during the NTZ opening in 2015 and in 2016 when the opening period had been moved. Whilst it is unlikely that tangible ecological benefits have accrued from NTZ operation, there have been important socio-economic effects. Specifically, there was a 33% increase in the price fishers received, a significant effect at the bottom of the value chain. Temporary increases in catch and income acted as a catalyst, engaging neighbouring communities in fishery management, resulting in two additional NTZs. Attention is drawn to the fact that current national legislation may be sub-optimal and should be reviewed. Successful management of the regional fishery will require the state and industry to support communities in adopting community-based management. The NTZ measure considered here may be an effective tool to achieve this.

Key topics:
Sustainable Livelihoods
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