Beach seining using fine mesh nets is illegal in Madagascar but is widespread throughout the country due to a lack of enforcement capacity; often mosquito bed nets are used because these are easily available from anti-malaria distribution programmes. The gear catches smaller fish and fry that are able to escape larger (legal) mesh seine nets. Thus, the use of such nets results in the catch of large numbers of fish larvae, especially since the practice often occurs in or near nursery grounds such as seagrass beds and mangroves. Unfortunately, extreme poverty in Madagascar’s coastal communities forces fishers to resort to such destructive techniques.
As well as addressing the root cause by providing community services to reduce socioeconomic pressures on the communities of Nosy Hara Marine Park, we are working with support from Tusk Trust to raise awareness of marine conservation issues among coastal communities using innovative and exciting media. In this video, a group of scouts from nearby Antsiranana perform a sketch to remind local fishers of the negative effects of fishing with mosquito nets and the reasons why their use is illegal.