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Mangroves, ecosystems to conserve!

This July 26, we will celebrate the international day for the conservation of mangroves ecosystems.

The abundance of fisheries resources depends on the health and integrity of marine and coastal ecosystems. We must be aware of the importance of the interactions between resources and the ecosystems in which they are found.
Mangroves, both habitat and nursery area for certain products such as crabs, shrimps and fish, are no exception to this rule. The degradation of the mangroves caused by human activities but also by climate change has very significant effects on the dynamics of this ecosystem.

A better management of this ecosystem will contribute, not only to improve the living conditions of the local communities who earn their living through the exploitation of fishery resources, but to ensure the various ecological functions and especially a function of support of cultural and tourist activities.

It is therefore decisive to maintain the properties of the mangroves and to put in place a management strategy for this ecosystem in order to ensure its productivity, its bio-ecological function and its integrity.

Towards sustainable management of mangrove forests in Madagascar

The mangrove is the mangrove trees formation established in the tidal zone of all tropical coastlines. In Madagascar, it covers about 236,400 hectares, located mainly on the west coast. The most extensive mangroves are those of the estuaries of large rivers and located in the Bays of Ambaro, Narindra, Mahajamba and Antongil.
The role of the mangrove is considerable, both for the ecology and the economy. On this unique ecosystem depends the reproduction and natural habitat of many fishery resources, including fish and shellfish that are of great commercial interest to the country. The mangrove also plays the role of nursery area for juvenile species. In addition, it is also essential to the protection of the coastline against river and marine erosion.

Unfortunately, mangrove forests and all the ecological wealth that depends on them are largely threatened by, among other things, human activities, pollution and the effect of climate change. Between 2010 and 2015, their degradation represented annually 0.05% of the total area. Hence the urgency for everyone to be fully aware of the importance of this fragile ecosystem, vulnerable but renewable, and then work for its sustainability.

In collaboration with the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development, the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, supported by the SWIOFISH2 Project and other technical and financial partners in the sector, is making the restoration and sustainable management of mangroves a priority commitment. Awareness and mobilization of fishing communities are among the actions carried out to this effect. And soon, a national strategy for the integrated management of the mangrove ecosystem will be developed.
Regional unit of Fisheries Development within the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries

Mangroves and fishery resources, what prospects?

Mangroves constitute ecosystems of major importance for many fishery resources such as crabs and coastal shrimps. These two resources depend on mangrove areas for their biological cycles and are part of the fishery products exported from Madagascar.

The Scylla serrata crab fishery is mainly practiced in the mangrove area. According to the Fisheries Health Authority or ASH, Madagascar exported 2,372.39 tons of crabs, all products included, in 2020 for a value of 24.8 billion Ariary.
However, a recent study shows the degradation of mangroves due to direct exploitation. Apart from the manufacture of charcoal, mangrove wood is cut, transported and sold in almost all the large cities of western Madagascar where the demand for construction wood is constantly increasing.

Aware of the impacts of the degradation and regression of mangroves on fish stocks, the Malagasy administration, with the collaboration of its partners, has carried out actions for the benefit of fishery resources. Apart from the mangrove restoration campaign, a ministerial decree was issued in 2009 following studies carried out by the Center for Studies and Development of Fisheries or CEDP for the establishment of two Biologically Sensitive Shrimp Areas or BSSAs.
                        Center of Studies and Development of Fisheries