Between conservation and poverty : impact assessment of a fisheries management project in Madagascar
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This thesis is a study about the role of conservation and sustainable management of natural resources, asking if biodiversity can be maintained whilst people’s livelihoods also improved. The study was carried out in remote small villages in southern Madagascar (Maromena, Befasy, Beheloka and Ampasimahanoro) from March 17 until April 14, 2014. The WWF implemented a small-scale fisheries management project between 2007 and 2011. The study compared the outcome from WWF’s project with my own findings. The study focused on two main groups: villages where WWF had worked and villages that had not benefitted from WWF’s interventions and support. A Livelihood Impact Assessment was used to answer research questions with the help of the Sustainable Livelihood Framework and World Bank’s ‘Opportunities’ approaches. The analysis is based on mixed qualitative and quantitative methods, however emphasis is put on qualitative research. Primary data collection included 10 interviews with key informants, 5 focus groups, 48 household surveys (32 HHs from the project villages and 16 HHs from the non-project villages) and observations. The WWF project had created a Locally Managed Marine Area and reintroduced the traditional governance system – local “dina”. The main findings show that the fisheries management project was very beneficial to local communities where WWF had worked. The need for resource protection and sustainable harvesting was understood and appreciated by the project villages. The main reasons were: a) the communities’ involvement in conservation and management, b) they had their own local institutions (“dina” and CBOs), and c) they had received necessary education and training relevant to management and sustainable use of fish resources. Benefits from conservation for the improvement of local people’s livelihood were recognized among the villagers, which led to reduction in illegal fishing practices and seasons closed for fishing. The research results demonstrate striking differences between the project village and the non-project village. The positive outcome in the project villages described above was not apparent in thenon-project villages. This was probably because the traditional “dina” was not re- established and that there was a lack of appropriate training related to sound management and sustainable harvesting in such villages.