Posted on 11 July 2018
Working as a "polisinala" (community ranger) in the mangroves of Ambaro Bay, north-west Madagascar, is not easy.
Recently, the village of “Ankazomborona’s “polisinala”, caught six pirogues that illegal fishermen were taking into their locality’s mangroves. The illegal fisherman who were caught during that night were taken to the village and held accountable for their actions according to the “dina.”
The “dina” is traditional communal law - it is used as a tool to regulate the effective management of natural resources. Among other things, it lists fines that those who break the rules (e.g. illegal fishing) must pay. Furthermore, arrested offenders must sign a letter of commitment against retaliation and recurring behavior.
The six illegal fishermen who came from the surrounding villages have been fined 400,000 ariary (c. 100 euros) for each boat caught. The offenders publically agreed to pay their fines. In totally, 2,000,000 arairy (c. 500 euros) has been paid to the local committee.
Ahmad Jacques is the president of the “Ankameva” association in Ankazomborona. The community organization that he runs manages the 926 hectares of mangroves that srruound the village. “It is the whole village, with the traditional and administrative authorities, who have decided to ban night fishing,” he said. “We, the polisinala, are here to enforce this decision.”
Since taking the post in 2016, they have already caught 16 illegal fishermen, and 23 illegal mangrove cutters.