Wish You Were Here: Barren Isles Archipelago, Madagascar

by Owen James Burke

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Photo: Blue Ventures

The Barren Isles Archipelago is hardly barren, but up until recently, local custom forbade occupation of the 9 islands off Madagascar’s west coast, with the exception of a few passing fishermen.

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Photo: Blue Ventures

In 2004, fishermen from mainland Madagascar began migrating to the archipelago in numbers, living in thatched huts between March and December when the seas are down and the fish are up.

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Photo: Garth Cripps/Blue Ventures

Just last month, Madagascar’s president accorded temporary protection for the Barren Isles Archipelago, which he hopes to be established by 2020. Currently (even if only for an initial two year period) the 4,300 square kilometer preserve is the largest community-managed marine life refuge in the Indian Ocean, and Madagascar’s largest by land or sea.

The protection allows for local fishermen to continue to sustain themselves, but industrial fishing is now prohibited.

If you find yourself sunburnt, dehydrated, or just down in salt and in need of some time in the shade, see how many of the 100 species of lemur you can spot.

Learn more about the Barren Isles Archipelago at Blue Ventures — OJB

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