Skip Content

Coronavirus/COVID-19: Currently we are continuing our programmes in Madagascar, but we need your support. Coronavirus Appeal

Project Oratsimba

In a region where coastal communities depend on fishing as a core income generating activity, Project Oratsimba encourages community-based, sustainable lobster fishery management across three villages.

In southeast Madagascar, fishers navigate dangerous seas in fragile and unstable canoes for the chance to earn around £1 per day and in places like Sainte Luce, lobster fishing generates income for 80% of households. However, in recent years, overfishing, illegal practices and increasingly unpredictable weather patterns have begun to threaten the security of the lobster industry and there are very few other employment opportunities in the region.

In the eighties, we would put four pots in the sea and get lots of lobster. Now, we put 25 pots in the sea and we just get half a kilo.

Community leader from Ebakika

The creation of Locally-Managed Marine Areas; areas of protected ocean that are managed by coastal communities, has proved a popular and sustainable method to protect marine biodiversity around the world.  The local communities are responsible for the governance of this area and a community-elected “Riaky” (Sea) Committee decided on and manages the fishing measures, which include a minimum landing size, a catch ban on female lobsters carrying eggs and No-Take Zone.

The community mapped out the No-Take Zone, a 13km2 area of key habitat where – for the majority of the year – lobster fishing does not take place, ultimately ensuring the security of lobster populations in the region. We continue to support them in enforcing the local rules and conducting research to inform community management.

Women buying lobsters on the beach
Measuring a lobster to check it is of a legal size

National lobster landings fell by more than 50% between 2006 and 2012, a situation reflected in the Anosy region.

FAO (2016)


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.