Why Befasy village?

Posted on 04 March 2010  | 
Befasy is a small Vezo fishing village on the southwest coast of Madagascar. Situated about 80 kilometers south of the next big town Toliara, Befasy is very isolated. In Befasy live ca. 700 People. Electricity and telephone network isn’t available, drinking water is carried from miles away. Befasy is a beautiful and calm place. The coast around the village is a long golden beach with smaller rocky parts. Befasy is situated in a little bay with a blue turquis lagoon. Behind the houses begins a vast tree and bush vegetation which is the driest of Madagascar. The landscape is characterized by some rare trees and bush species, animals are only birds and reptiles. On the beach lay many lakams, every painted in a colorful way. The beach is place of the daily life of the people, where they wash dishes or their clothes and the children play. Befasy has a little bazar in the middle of the beach, where you can find lots of mangos and sometimes sweet potato and tomatoes.

The Vezo people live almost 100 percent from the ocean, their daily life depends directly from the conditions of the sea. We lived realy close with the people of Befasy and learned a lot about being a fishermen in Madagascar. But the most important thing was that everybody was very interested to learn from each other. In our awarness raising sessions we spoke about the biology of the coral reef and its animal species and became always a positive feedback. During the fish capture monitoring we had also a close contact to the fishermen. Three times a week we measured, weighed and counted the catch of the lakams and asked where they went fishing. In the third project, the production of radio emissions, we created little role plays and recorded them with the listening groups of Befasy.

Several times we went out with the fishermen and got used to the fishing techniques. This was amazing! The Vezo go out early in the morning and row or sail with their lakams to the fishing grounds. They know the sea better than the land, searching fish every day. The methods vary from nets to spear or underwater guns and depend on where you go fishing. In the last decades the numbers of fish and other seafruits have decreased constantly. Nowadays the fishermen of Befasy have to go further and longer out to sea to find enough fish for their families.
Fish capture monitoring
© WWF / Jonas Ewert Enlarge
Carrying dried vari lava
© WWF / Jonas Ewert Enlarge

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