Image Credit: Wikimedia
Awesome Ocean’s Conservation Spotlight is going to take a look at groups and organizations across the world who are working on the front lines in the battle to save our planet and species from extinction.
In this Conservation Spotlight, we are celebrating Blue Ventures.
Blue Ventures is a Non Government Organization (NGO) that works toward the goal of rebuilding tropical fisheries within some of the poorest coastal communities. For the past 10 years, they have been working in Madagascar, Belize and other tropical countries to rebuild fisheries that collapsed or were near collapsing.
Working with some of the poorest coastal communities is not an easy task. Because these communities rely on their coastal waters for food, Blue Ventures’ approach is to create a win for the communities they work with as well as a win for our planet. This is accomplished by creating:
- Locally led marine conservation – When you empower the local coastal communities to manage their own resources and fisheries you can safeguard marine biodiversity. Blue Ventures has programs in over 70 communities and covers a coastal area of over 6,000 square kilometers (equal to 820,000 football fields).
- Sustainable Fisheries – Using a market-based approach, Blue Ventures has demonstrated to local communities the economic benefits of marine conservation. By demonstrating that sustainable fisheries can reap financial benefits in the long and short term, fishermen and seafood buyers are more engaged. Blue Ventures identified that if you have periodic short term closures that target species during their rapid growth phase in their life cycle, you can boost productivity, resulting in bigger catches. Bigger catches then result in more income for fishermen, which finally leads to a higher survival rate for the protected species.
- Aquaculture – Part of Blue Ventures’ integrated approach to marine conservation includes developing a private sector aquaculture business that can take pressure off the coastal fisheries and provide coastal people with new sources of income and improved access to food. The end result is preserving marine biodiversity.
- Blue Forests – Mangroves, sea grass beds, and salt marshes are ecosystems that provide food for millions of people in coastal areas around the world. While Blue Forests only represent 3% of total forests, they capture over 55% of the carbon in the world, which is a crucial undertaking. Blue Ventures helps to develop community-led mangrove conservation initiatives to protect these vital areas.
On top of this amazing conservation work, Blue Ventures works to help educate men, women and children in local communities and also offers reproductive counseling.
Blue Ventures has been given awards and praise by the United Nations and numerous other NGO groups as one of the best conservation organizations in the world. It is clear that their win-win approach is working and they are helping local communities and our planet.
Blue Ventures welcomes volunteers and donations. We recommend that you check them out and see how you can get involved.