Working as a community ranger in the mangroves of Ambaro Bay, Northwest Madagascar, is not easy.
Recently, the village of Ankazomborona’s “polisinala” community rangers caught six boats that they say a group of fishers used on an unauthorized trip into the nearby mangroves. That same night they were taken to the village and held accountable for their actions according to the community regulation called “dina”.
The “dina” is traditional communal law used as a tool to regulate the effective management of natural resources. Among other things, it lists fines and penalties that those who break the rules (for example, fishing illegally) must pay, which includes signing a letter of commitment against retaliation and recurring behavior.
“It is the whole village, with the traditional and administrative authorities, who have decided to ban night fishing in mangroves. We, the polisinala, are here to enforce this decision.”
- Ahmad Jacques
The six men were found to have fished illegally were fined 400,000 ariary (100 euros) for each boat and ultimately paid the local committee 2,000,000 arairy (500 euros).
Ahmad Jacques is the president of the “Ankameva” association in Ankazomborona. The community organization that he runs manages the 926 hectares of mangroves that surround the village. They also support the rangers that guard the mangrove forests.
Rangers like those patroling Ambaro Bay are a crucial link between policy and protection. Since taking the post in 2016, they have already caught 16 illegal fishermen, and 23 illegal mangrove cutters.
Learn more: WWF-Madagascar