By Kame Westerman, Velondriake MPA Project Coordinator, Andavadoaka, Madagascar. The Velondriake marine managed area is governed by representatives from each of the twenty-five villages that are encompassed by its boundaries. Twice a year, these 65 representatives come together to take part in a General Assembly meeting where issues are discussed and future plans made.
Last weekend, Velondriake held this bi-annual meeting in Andavadoaka. Participants discussed the impending temporary octopus reserve openings, challenges and successes with enforcing the local law banning destructive fishing, and created a work plan for the next several months. These meetings are important for ensuring that Velondriake is guided and managed by local leaders, and ultimately lead to long-term sustainability of this important marine ecosystem.