Barren Isles exploratory expedition

Introduction

During November 2011, a team of marine scientists and environmental reporters embarked on a pioneering research expedition along the remote west coast of Madagascar. Based aboard a traditional Malagasy wooden sailing dhow, the international team surveyed the health and biodiversity of the Barren Isles, a 100 km long chain of coral islands off the west coast of the Madagascar. The team worked above and below the water to support the conservation of one of the Mozambique Channel’s remotest and least known coral reef archipelagos.

Live map of the route


View Barren Isles exploratory expedition in a larger map

Expected itinerary

The expedition was at sea for three weeks, sailing from the town of Morondava. During the voyage marine biologists collected important scientific data, documenting local conservation issues, and raised awareness of the conservation value of marine resources. Throughout the voyage the expedition reported its findings online through this blog, also producing films and news reports documenting threats to the region’s spectacular marine life, and investigating the impacts of climate change on the archipelago’s fragile marine environment.

“This cruise will be the first of its kind in Madagascar, giving us an unprecedented opportunity to share our incredible marine heritage with the public & to engage people in communicating conservation messages.”

-Mialy Andriamahefazafy, Environmental Policy Officer

The eight-person team included international marine biologists, photographers, film-makers and journalists – all helping to increase environmental awareness by sharing stories about marine conservation issues through radio and film.

Images from the expedition

 

 

Setting Sail in Maintirano: The Early Days
Setting sail in Maintirano: the early days
Posted 5 days ago

by Florence Pichon, Barren Isles Project Coordinator, Maintirano, Madagascar

I can hardly believe it’s been two months since I arrived in Maintirano; a sleepy, beautiful coastal town in western Madagascar. Settling…

Setting sail in Maintirano: the early days
On the road: tales from your semi-nomadic Conservation Coordinator
On the road: tales from your semi-nomadic Con…
Posted 1 month ago

By Brian Jones, Conservation Coordinator, Toliara, Madagascar  (All photos courtesy of Brian Jones)

After almost six years of living in remote villages throughout Madagascar, the modern amenities of Toliara, like hot…

On the road: tales from your semi-nomadic Con…
Making an IMPAC at the International Marine Protected Areas Congress
Making an IMPAC at the International Marine P…
Posted 3 months ago

by Olivier Raynaud, Maintirano & Barren Isles Project Coordinator, Madagascar

Following Geeling, Australia in 2005 and Washington DC, USA in 2009, the third International Marine Protected Areas Congress (IMPAC3) was held in…

Making an IMPAC at the International Marine P…
Q&A with Olivier
Blue Ventures Staff Q&A with Olivier Raynaud,…
Posted 12 months ago

In the first instalment in our series of Q&As with Blue Ventures staff, we ask Olivier Raynaud, our Maintirano and Barren Isles Project Coordinator, some searching questions about science, conservation…

Blue Ventures Staff Q&A with Olivier Raynaud,…
Island Life: Monitoring Nesting Turtles in the Barren Isle
Island Life: Monitoring Nesting Turtles in th…
Posted 1 year ago

by Olivier Raynaud, Maintirano & Barren Isles Project Coordinator, Madagascar

Among the variety of natural riches that can be found in the Barren Isles’ diverse ecosystems are five of the world’s seven…

Island Life: Monitoring Nesting Turtles in th…
Sailing towards the Barren Isles Locally Managed Marine Area; tackling the wind and forging ahead
Sailing towards the Barren Isles Locally Mana…
Posted 1 year ago

by Olivier Raynaud, Maintirano & Barren Isles Project Coordinator, Madagascar

In our quest for a durable and efficient management configuration, in order to preserve and organise the utilisation of the Barren Isles’…

Sailing towards the Barren Isles Locally Mana…
Maintirano’s Hour of Glory: the Journée Nationale de la Pêche et de l’Aquaculture
Maintirano’s Hour of Glory: the Journée Natio…
Posted 1 year ago

by Olivier Raynaud, Maintirano and Barren Isles Project Coordinator, Madagascar

September 19th to 21st 2012 found our little town in quite a frenzy as it hosted the National Day for Fishing…

Maintirano’s Hour of Glory: the Journée Natio…
War and Peace: Talking about the Barren Isles
War and Peace: Talking about the Barren Isles
Posted 2 years ago

by Olivier Raynaud, Maintirano & Barren Isles Project Coordinator, Madagascar

I’ve just arrived in the little town of Maintirano as the new project coordinator for the Barren Isles Marine Protected Area…

Standing in the shadow of giants
Standing in the shadow of giants
Posted 2 years ago

by Adin Farenako, Madagascar

I’d like to share a short story about a local legend from a region near my birthplace.

Talimotse was an extraordinary man from the Menabe region. He was…

Setting sail: a brief look at migration in southwest Madagascar
Setting sail: a brief look at migration in so…
Posted 2 years ago

By Kame Westerman, Velondriake LMMA Coordinator, Madagascar

Human migration can be influenced by a number of factors – political, social, economic, physical, and even cultural. In southwest Madagascar, where Blue Ventures…

Setting sail: a brief look at migration in so…
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Press coverage

 

Team members

Dr Alasdair Harris: I am a marine biologist based in Madagascar where my work focuses on supporting Blue Ventures’ various conservation initiatives around the island. Usually confined to a desk job in Madagascar’s capital Antananarivo, I am being allowed out of the office to board Nofy Be and help out on the expedition as a coral ecologist.

 

George (Bic) Manahira: Having dived recently in the Barren Islands I am looking forward to being part of the first team documenting their health and I am excited to return with photographs, films and stories that we can use to inspire others to learn more about this amazing place in which we live.

 

Charlie Gough: This research cruise to the Barren islands will be the first time that anyone has systematically explored and documented the status of the reefs of this region, and I’m looking forward to keeping you all updated with the characters, creatures and stories great and small that we encounter on our route!

 

Claude Farandriaka: Being part of this expedition to survey the Barren islands and communicate the results with the local community and the rest of the world will be an important event in my life. I look forward to learning a great deal with a multidisciplinary and professional team of scientists, reporters, and cameramen.

 

Dr Garth Cripps: I’m particularly interested in the human story behind conservation and followed the Vezo migration to the Barren Isles in 2009. Their migration epitomises many of the challenges that they face: driven by poverty and the collapse of their local fisheries, they sail thousands of kilometres from their homes to find still productive fishing grounds.

 

Jon Schleyer: This is my third trip to the west coast of Madagascar to see the great progress being made by the communities towards sustaining their marine resources. It is two and a half years since I was last in the area so I am excited to see what developments have occurred after my previous visit.

 

Mialy Andriamahefazafy: As the environmental policy officer I am in charge of ensuring that all our projects are evolving in a beneficial legal framework. This trip represents a very important opportunity. Through the different communications media that we will employ, we will be able to share the fabulous marine diversity that we see with the public.

 

Tanguy Nicolas: It is not easy to bring change in such a remote place – communication with the rest of the country is difficult. So having the opportunity to embark on a scientific expedition and share the outputs with the local community, using local radio and video, will be a positive fresh wind.

 

Thomas: I grew up in the Malagasy village of Andavadoaka with my three brothers and my very large Vezo family. I want to help the Vezo understand that if we can work together now, we can keep fishing in the future. As the fishermen run to find more fish, we will be running alongside to teach them.

 

Dr Yann Frejaville: This research cruise aboard the Nofy Be is a privilege and a unique opportunity to explore and study reefs presenting very low levels of fishing pressure – perhaps pristine reefs- an experience that has unfortunately become a rare and precious resource in the world.