Mission Blue is excited to partner with Blue Ventures, a science-led social enterprise that works with coastal communities to develop transformative approaches for nurturing and sustaining locally led marine conservation. In cooperation with their many partners, the Blue Ventures team works in places where the ocean is vital to local people, cultures and economies, and where there is a fundamental need to support human development. Over the last decade, their models have guided national fisheries policy and been replicated by communities, NGOs, businesses, donors and government agencies along thousands of kilometers of coastline. Blue Ventures have created the largest locally managed marine protected area (LMMA) in the Indian Ocean, catalyzed a sea change in community-led fisheries management, established sustainable aquaculture and ecotourism businesses, and developed new approaches to financing and incentivizing marine conservation. So far their work has impacted the lives of more than 200,000 coastal people.
Blue Ventures have contributed more than 20 stories to the Mission Blue curated Google Earth Explore the Ocean layer, visible on our website here (search for Blue Ventures). From community conservation, small-scale fisheries, blue forests and aquaculture, to community health and education, these stories represent the diverse range of transformative community-centered conservation initiatives, which engage communities towards long-term solutions for decreasing poverty, preparing for climate change and safeguarding biodiversity. Finalizing these stories for submission to Explore the Ocean was greatly aided by dedicated volunteers from Portland State University (Adam Zaremba, Kendra Lynn).
Through their partnership with Google, Blue Ventures are pioneering the use of and providing proof of concept for a number of emerging online mapping tools and storytelling resources. These tools are providing substantial practical benefits to ongoing marine research and conservation efforts in diverse ways, from influencing regulatory frameworks (e.g., securing municipal-level legal resource management rights; influencing REDD+ policy for mangroves), to facilitating conservation efforts (e.g., improving existing livelihoods through mangrove restoration, conservation and reduced-impact use), and contributing to predictive ecological models (e.g., future mangrove deforestation scenarios). Most recently, through the Trekker program, Blue Ventures have collected the first Street View imagery for Madagascar. The imagery resulting from the Trekker program is hoped to specifically help further bring attention to all of Blue Venture’s ongoing community-centered initiatives, and more generally, increase global awareness of Madagascar, showcasing in panoramic detail the incredible cultures and biodiversity the island nation is renowned for. What this new Trekker imagery means for the people of Madagascar is previously unavailable representation to a global audience. Through this additional exposure, it is hoped that further attention will be brought to the many challenges faced by the Malagasy, and the organizations and institutions engaged with local communities towards tangible long-term solutions.
Blue Ventures initiatives are generously supported by funding and in-kind contributions from organizations and institutions listed here.
For overviews of the themes within which Blue Ventures is working with coastal communities, view these Factsheets.
For stories from the field relating to all ongoing Blue Ventures activities, visit the Beyond Conservation Blog.
For an overview of the many meaningful contributions to community conservation and marine and coastal science to date, visit this Publications overview.
(All photos © Blue Ventures / Garth Cripps)