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  • Awarded: 2015
  • Issue Areas: Arresting Deforestation · Economic Opportunity · Environmental Sustainability · Health · Health Delivery · Livelihoods · Ocean Ecosystems · Responsible Supply Chains
  • Countries Served: Belize · Comoros · India · Indonesia · Kenya · Madagascar · Mozambique · Tanzania · Timor Leste · United Kingdom
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    About the Organization

    Blue Ventures is a science-led social enterprise that works with coastal communities to develop transformative approaches for nurturing and sustaining locally-led marine conservation.

    They work 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 Blue Ventures' models have guided national fisheries policy and been replicated by communities, NGOs, businesses, donors, and government agencies along thousands of miles of coastline.

    Blue Ventures has created the largest locally-managed marine protected areas 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 100,000 of the world's poorest coastal people.

    Once Blue Ventures has developed a model that works, they support communities to share their experiences and encourage adoption by others. Their results help them to propose new ways of safeguarding marine biodiversity and traditional livelihoods that benefit coastal people everywhere.

    Global fish stocks are collapsing at a time when the world’s people need them most.

    Blue Ventures' model for community-managed protected areas provides alternative income while fishery populations recover.

    BV's market-based approaches range from community reserves and tourism to markets for carbon and invasive as well as native species.

    Innovation labs are developing strategies for fishery management in eight countries.

    Ambition for Change

    Conservation organizations focus on livelihoods, and help coastal communities manage fisheries sustainably, meet their own needs, and gain access to markets where they can earn adequate incomes.

    Path to Scale

    Demonstration, Market and Policy Uptake

    Communities experiencing benefits from temporary protection support more permanent, far-ranging protected areas, adding to regional and global networks. Knowledge is shared peer to peer and by the BV team.

    A lifelong fascination with the oceans and marine life led Al Harris to pursue a career in marine biology. In the field, observing widespread contamination, over-exploitation, and climate-related damage to coral reef ecosystems, he realized that he could not spend his life as a researcher, simply documenting the destruction. He also realized that traditional approaches, such as protected areas, could succeed only if the people who depend on the resources could be enlisted as allies. He needed to invest in people’s livelihoods, and founded Blue Ventures to do that. Blue Ventures offers expeditions and volunteer opportunities for ocean enthusiasts, leveraging the skills as well as the fees of its customers to advance conservation solutions. BV has developed a successful model for community-managed protected areas designed to let octopus and other sea life grow large enough to reproduce more bountifully (the community is rewarded for a temporary closure, or permanent protection of nursery areas, with a larger, more sustainable supply of resources over time). In Madagascar and Belize, BV is developing innovative, market-based approaches to managing marine resources, ranging from community reserves, tourism, and investments in the value of carbon stored in mangrove systems, to development of commercial markets to encourage harvest and control of invasive species.

    Impact & Accomplishments

    • Locally managed marine area model developed and tested, resulting in permanent protection for more than 10 percent of Madagascar's inshore seabed.
    • Advice to Mauritius officials on octopus closures led to 50 percent increase in national yields.
    • 5 innovation labs in Madagascar and Belize testing and demonstrating community driven approaches.
    • New country programs planned in Mozambique and East Timor; technical assistance to be provided in five other countries.



    Alasdair HarrisExecutive Director, Blue Ventures
    Vik MohanMedical Director, Blue Ventures

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