Vezo fishermen on a road trip to the southernmost point of Madagascar | WWF

Vezo fishermen on a road trip to the southernmost point of Madagascar

Posted on
25 July 2017
Vezo fishermen left their usual canoes behind to ride in 4x4s. From Manambolo, in the west of Madagascar, to Fort Dauphin, just at the southern tip of the island, they went during the last adventure of the fishermen from the west and southwest of Madagascar supported by WWF. A true journey of nearly 1500 km of sand and spiny forest. 
A dozen fishermen, leaders of the mangrove management communities of Manambolo-Tsiribihina, left their villages on July 17 for the southern part of the country on a road trip to meet the fishermen of the Vezo people, who manage forests and marine areas in the south of Madagascar. 
Coming from the villages around the Manambolo and Tsiribihina Rivers, these men and women visited the coastal communities of Andavadoake, Salary and Ambondrolava, between the larger cities of Morondava and Tuléar. The road then continued to Ranomay, on the banks of the Onilahy River, then to Beheloke and Itampolo, along the Mahafaly coast, crossing the famous Tropic of Capricorn which delimits the southern part of the land map. There, the fishermen left their footprints, spontaneously, making their ephemeral mark on the blank canvas of this emblematic place, soon to be erased by time.  
According to Pima Fihereza, 81 years old and president of the "Tafitasoa" ("success" in Malagasy) grassroots community in the Tsiribihina River Delta, "the Vezo people of the Mahafaly littoral regularly monitor the catches of their villages. This monitoring allows us to know the abundance of fishes and their size throughout the year. It is a very useful technique that we, living in the mangroves, could use in the fishing and searching for mud crabs."
Like coral reefs, mangroves play a critical role in the balance of coastal ecosystems in Madagascar. They are also important sources of food and livelihood for the population. It is important to recall this, especially on July 26, International Mangrove Day.
As the fishermen’s experiences exemplifies, exchanges of experience are a force for change in the communities that WWF supports. The fishermen discover good innovative practices and are inspired by each other's successes. They advise, listen and ... telephone numbers are enthusiastically exchanged between namana mpiandriake ("fishermen colleagues" in Malagasy). 
Nearing the end of this Mada Raid version 2.0, about fifteen Vezo fishermen have joined the road trip to the south and the caravan is now heading towards the town of Fort Dauphin, where more than 160 fishermen from Madagascar are expected to attend a national meeting of the network MIHARI, network of marine areas managed by the communities in Madagascar, which will take place from 27 July to 1 August 2017. The icing on the cake for a real adventure of learning and exchange!
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