Congratulations to Blue Ventures, an integrative marine conservation group, the winner of this year's Buckminster Fuller Challenge $100,000 prize. The organization takes a comprehensive market-based approach to conservation by connecting fishery research, female-centered community eduction and alternative income initiatives to protect biodiversity. Their integrative model has helped create the largest community-managed marine protected area in the entire Indian Ocean and their work has affected some of the poorest fishing communities in Madagascar, Malaysia and Belize.
Blue Ventures works to develop community owned marine conservation solutions through an ambitious portfolio encompassing marine and fisheries research, sustainable aquaculture, family planning and public health, environmental education, fisheries management and protected area development. Integrating such a broad range of initiatives and delivering them in a specific geographic area represents a novel approach to the development of sustainable and holistic community led marine and coastal conservation in tropical developing world countries.
Recently, results of Blue Ventures' fisheries research has demonstrated for the first time that community-based marine conservation brings direct economic benefits to traditional fishing communities, creating a powerful incentive for expansion of marine conservation efforts at scale in tropical coastal communities. Their research is undergoing peer review and will be ready for publication in the Fall of 2011. Read more about Blue Ventures and their work here and check out the video about some of their work in Andavadoaka, Madagascar after the jump.