Date of Award

Winter 2022

Project Type


Program or Major

Biological Sciences

Degree Name

Master of Science

First Advisor

Elizabeth A Fairchild

Second Advisor

Easton R White

Third Advisor

Nathan Furey


Protected Areas are a tool used by the International Union Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to limit changes to and preserve important and fragile ecosystems, allowing varying permissible activities within their boundaries. Locally Managed Marine Areas (LMMAs) are a similar tool, but with a higher emphasis of community engagement in the planning process with community-based ownership and regulation. In Madagascar, there are both IUCN Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and LMMAs established to help conserve their high marine biodiversity and healthy reef systems. While the LMMAs and some of the MPAs permit sustainable fishing, it is unknown if the traditional, small-scale fisheries are sustainable or if they impart permanent negative impacts to current exploited marine populations. These analyses examine 11 years of fisheries data collected from the town of Salary, Madagascar. The goals of this study were to: 1) devise methods from local fish collectors that attend to cross-cultural and cross-linguistic challenges to collect robust catch data to characterize previously undocumented fisheries, then 2) analyze these landings data using generalized linear models and examine the health of the exploited populations for signs of impact. Monitoring the status of ecosystems in an MPA is essential to preserving the ecological balance of reefs, but also the livelihoods of Salary’s residents. We found 51 unique identifiable fishing sites, with six highly frequented sites, where fishers capture Eel, Fish, Gastropods, Octopus, Sea Cucumber, Squid, Seaweed, Lobster/Crabs, and Seahorses by Hand, Hook and Line, Spears, Spear guns, and Nets. Fish and Octopus were the highest landed marine organism categories from the highest frequented sites (Belamera, Nanohofa, Anananose, Andamabe, Anjokozoko, Nandoa), however, only at Belamera were there indications of overfishing Octopus that might not be conducive to the MPA status. While we were able to determine that as of 2021, Salary’s fisheries seem to be sustainable, we acknowledge the limited scope of these data and recommend the continuation of data collection and evaluation to ensure the health and legitimacy of the MPA. Ensuring the health of MPAs is essential to the health of coastal communities and our oceans.