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    Last week Blue Ventures staff were involved in meetings of all partners in the Andavadoaka project which BV is involved in. Field scientists Tom and Amelia gave presentation on BVs work on Finfish and Octopus monitoring and the ecological monitoring and Socio economic research coordinator Minna Epps gave talks on the village of Andavadoaka as well as progress of socio economic research, fisheries. Scientist Daniel Raberinary presented a history of the creation of the three new octopus reserves as a result of recent village meetings.

    On 29th December a delegation of BV staff and volunteers, WCS and IRD went to the village of Lamboara to participate in the fomba for the closing of their new octopus reserve at Ampisaronga. We stopped to collect the president of Ampasilava on the way – who was going to Lamboara to inform them that the village of Ampasilava had agreed to join Lamboara in creating the reserve and participate in the salary of the guardian. The presidents of other surrounding villages of Lamboara, Tampolove and Ankilimalinike were also present to show their support of the reserve. We were treated to some dances and singing from a group of local women. We will also be visited by various local dignitaries including the Chef de Region, the Chef de District and the Mayor of Befandefa who will be taking part in a big ceremony in Andavadoaka to update the communities on the progress of the Andavadoaka project to jointly celebrate the closure of the three new Octopus reserves and to exchange ideas between communities.

    This week has been a good one for charismatic megafauna – dolphins were seen on the way to a dive and a white tip reef shark spotted on another dive.

    Staff and volunteers were also treated to two fascinating talks from our visiting taxonomic experts – one on the biodiversity of reef fish by Gerry Allen and the other about corals by Doug Fenner.

    Meanwhile, the temperature continues to rise both on and out of the water in Andavadoaka and a short wetsuit is now plenty warm enough in the water. The rains have started inland but for the moment the coast is, as they say, clear.