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SEED Madagascar

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Project Oratsimba


  • Status: Fully funded (Phase III)
  • Date: July 2018 – March 2021
  • Target population: The project will reach three villages, directly supporting 850 fishermen, and impacting the lives of 4,250 people who are dependent on fishing income. The project aims to have a positive impact on lobster stocks, refining the community management model in Sainte Luce that will be replicated regionally.
  • Location: Sainte Luce, Ebakika and Itapera, Anosy region, southeast Madagascar
  • Project partners: Local fishermen; Lobster Research Unit; Ministry of Fisheries; Madapeche; Le Martin Pecheur; Blue Ventures; University College London.​​​

Why is it important?

Sainte Luce is a key lobster fishery, making a significant contribution to annual landings in the Anosy region. Here, fishermen navigate dangerous seas in canoes that can be fragile and unstable for the chance to earn around £1 per day. Lobsters are of considerable economic importance in Sainte Luce, as lobster fishing is a core income generating activity for 80% of households.

However, in recent years, overfishing, illegal practices and increasingly unpredictable weather patterns have begun to threaten the security of Sainte Luce’s lobster industry. With the local forest also in decline, fishers are finding it harder to source the materials they need to fish, and there are very few other employment opportunities in the region.

Lobster fishing is a core income generating activity for 80% of households in Sainte Luce.

What we're doing

SEED Madagascar has partnered with the fishermen of Sainte Luce to create a Locally-Managed Marine Area. We helped the community to hold meetings and decide on a suite of management measures. These include; a Minimum Landing Size, a ban on landing berried (egg bearing) females and a periodic No Take Zone (NTZ). A community-elected “Riaky” (Sea) Committee is responsible for enforcing these rules, with technical and management assistance from SEED Madagascar.

In order to increase lobster populations, the community decided to set aside 13km2 area of key habitat within the fishery as a periodic NTZ where – for the majority of the year – lobster fishing does not take place. After conducting yearly closures the fishers experienced an increased catch per unit effort during periods of No Take Zone openings. The community therefore decided to repeat the process, and has continued to do. SEED Madagascar will again support them in enforcing the local rules and conduct research to inform and assess the community management. Having seen the great results of the first two phases of the project, the neighbouring communities of Ebakika and Itapera are also involved in project Phase III, looking to create community designed and enforced NTZs of their own.


Project Oratsimba (Phase III) has been made possible thanks to funding from Defra’s Darwin Initiative. Previous phases of the project have been funded by Blue Ventures and the FAO’s SmartFish.


Oratsimba phase 1: Pilot

  • Led community development and agreement of a code of conduct for fishing in Sainte Luce.
  • Supported the community to map their fishing area, determine a no-fishing zone, and mark it with buoys, before they closed it to fishing for 10 months.
  • Helped establish a locally elected “Riaky Committee” to enforce local rules and manage the protected zone.
  • Conducted a cross-visit to a similar project being implemented by Blue Ventures in Tulear.

Oratsimba phase 2: Sainte Luce model development

  • Provided ongoing technical, management and financial support to the Riaky Committee to manage the fishing area.
  • Extended the protected zone to include the community of Elodrato and integrate their elected members into the Riaky Committee
  • Carried out scientific data collection of lobster catches to provide robust monitoring and evaluation throughout the project.

Oratsimba (Fagnary pre phase): Model refinement and expansion

  • Strengthening and refining the existing model in Sainte Luce.
  • Extending this model to the neighbouring communities of Elodrato and Itapera.
  • Improving governance structures for community enforcement of local laws relating to lobster fishing.
  • Engaging the private sector in ongoing partnerships to promote the long-term interests of the fishery.
  • Ongoing scientific data collection of lobster catches to provide robust monitoring and evaluation throughout the project.

Oratsimba phase 3: Replicating the model to secure fisheries, biodiversity and livelihoods

  • Community education and training initiatives to perpetuate understanding of fisheries management, Marine biodiversity and natural resource management.
  • Building capacity of regional fisheries ministry, marine research unit and law enforcement to undertake research and enforce fisheries law.
  • Value chain development in collaboration with private sector lobster buyers.
  • Mapping and marking of no-take zones in all three target communities.
  • Establishing enforcement committees across three target communities.
  • Encouraging membership of fishers’ associations.
  • Continued marine protected area governance analysis undertaken in collaboration with UCL.
  • Development of a lobster fishery management handbook.
  • Financial management workshops.