In the heart of the capital, not far from “le Palais de la Reine”, the “Journée Nationale de la Pêche et de l’Aquaculture” (JNPA), or “National Days for Fishing and Aquaculture” was celebrated between September 29th and October 2nd 2016. The JNPA happens once every two years, and was first celebrated in 2012. For 4 days, representatives from the MIHARI LMMAs share information and experience with fishers and traders, and members of the Ministry for Fishing and Marine Resources.
Introduction & Preparation
The day before the JNPA, more than 30 representatives from different LMMAs took their seats, some on chairs but most of them on the ground, around the National Coordinator of the MIHARI Network, Vatosoa Rakotondrazafy. She began by introducing all the different regions and their representatives. Some of them already knew each other, as they had met during regional forums or exchanges visits, but others scanned their colleagues’ faces with friendly curiosity.
Vatosoa asked the assembled representatives to define “MIHARI” and, despite only having been integrated into the Network recently, Mr. Augustin, President of TAMIA Association, volunteered to answer the question. With a slightly worried expression, he stood up as straight as he could, and said “Madagascar Locally Managed Marine Area Network” in one breath, before taking his seat with a mixed feeling of relief and pride. He had been studying hard so as to be up to speed with the other representatives!
The introduction day was primarily filled with organising the agenda for the next 4 days, and by sharing the many tasks equally between all the representatives.
A Busy Few Days
Small gatherings of MIHARI LMMA members have occurred before during regional forums and exchanges visits, but this was the first time that all of the members were brought together in the same place for such a large and exciting national event.
The main objective of the MIHARI representatives during these 4 days was to inform visitors about LMMAs and the MIHARI Network. Some representatives would mingle with the crowds and engage with the other stands at the JNPA, looking for interested peers to exchange knowledge with. Others were in charge of MIHARI’s own stand, and spent their time talking to visitors and welcoming celebrities! The Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture, Gilbert François, was very impressed. He encouraged the MIHARI representatives to continue pursuing their goals and voiced his strong support:
“We appreciate the cooperation between the MIHARI Network and the Ministry, and we hope it continues to improve. This mutual aid must continue to take place in order to lead to sustainable development with a real impact on the population. The Ministry encourages and remains available for further cooperation with the MIHARI team. God bless you all. Long life to the MIHARI Network.”
The LMMA representatives also participated in debate conferences, 3 of which were led by the MIHARI Network: “How do LMMAs guarantee sustainable fisheries through community management”, “How to add value to your products and increase your fisheries income”, and “How to improve communication and coordination between communities, collectors, sellers, and the private sector to foster a win-win relationship”.
Ms Samueline Ranaivoson, the General Projects Coordinator of the Ministry of Fishing and Marine Resources, was very engaged in these debates, and spoke formally about the future involvement of LMMAs in the country’s marine resources management:
“LMMAs are concerned with community management and monitoring, and we (the Ministry) are currently in the process of drafting a decree on community management. Your management suggestions for this decree have been received, and we are discussing your monitoring suggestions at a meeting on wednesday. You are welcome at the Ministry of Fishing and Marine Resources, and you will have a role to play in designing the new decree as you have done for past laws. We are always willing to listen to more suggestions from MIHARI.”
A Great Success
Each day of the JNPA had a festive and joyful atmosphere, supported by music and lively conversation. All the LMMA representatives were delighted to have taken part, emerging buoyed by their new experiences and shared knowledge. No one can wait for another collaboration with MIHARI, and everyone wished that the JNPA was more regular, as it has played a key role in the development of marine resource management cooperatives.
“We are so happy to have taken part in this national event, the first one with all of us together. We deeply hope that such events will continue to happen in the future.” Concluded Félix, an LMMA representative from the North-West of Madagascar, with a big smile on his face.
For more information about the day, click here. (French)