Marine and Coastal Resources Governance

Madagascar has established standards to manage the coastal resources and environmental quality through both domestic and international laws.

Domestic Laws and Regulations

Fisheries Act, 1993

The Fisheries Act encourages the creation of local advisory fisheries councils bringing

together representatives from fishing communities, fisheries administration and local authorities. In practice, such co-management mechanisms are barely operational.

Ministerial Decree establishing the Fisheries Surveillance Center

In 1999, a ministerial decree established the Fisheries Surveillance Center (Centre de Surveillance des Pêches – CSP). The mandate of the CSP is to ensure compliance with fishing regulations for the preservation of fishery resources and the sustainable development of fisheries. The CSP is a public administrative body benefitting from an autonomy status for financial management, belonging to three ministries: MFFR, the Ministry in charge of budget, and the Ministry in charge of public accounting. [1], [2]

Integrated Coastal Zone Management (GIZC)

The Decree N° 2010-137 of 23 Mars 2010 regulates Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) in Madagascar. It was initiated in 2002 and is one of Madagascar National policies / strategies related to mangroves or coastal ecosystem. This policy lays the foundation for a comprehensive, multi-stakeholder and multi-sector planning approach, which includes coordination between relevant administrative levels and Ministries.

Decree No. 94-112, Establishing the general organization of Maritime Fishing

The aim of this Decree is to define and specify the principles and policies set out in general terms in ordinance regulating fishing and aquaculture in Madagascar.

National Environmental Action Plan (PNAE), in 1989

The “Plan d’action environmental” (PAE) has four objectives: designed to prevent environmental degradation and create closer ties between the population and its environment: 1) to develop human resources through environmental education, training and active participation; 2) to improve environmental management; 3) to promote biodiversity conservation and management; and 4) improve living standards for both urban and rural areas.

Decree n°63-131 of February 27, 1963 fixing the limit of the territorial sea of Malagasy republic

The Decree establishes the baseline from which the breadth of the territorial sea is measured, and the document has an annexed map that contains the vertices and the points that define them.

Order n°85-013 of September 16, 1985 fixing maritime zone limits (territorial sea, continental Highland and exclusive economic zone) of the Republic of Madagascar

This order defines that the territorial sea of the Democratic Republic of Madagascar in which it exercises its sovereignty shall extend to a limit of 12 nautical miles measured from the baselines. Through the decree, the Democratic Republic of Madagascar establishes a contiguous zone of 24 nautical miles measured from the baselines and can take within this limit all necessary measures to prevent infringement of its customs, fiscal, immigration or sanitary laws and regulations, and punish infringement of such laws and regulations. It also indicates that the exclusive economic zone of the Democratic Republic of Madagascar shall extend to 200 nautical miles from the baselines from which the breadth of the territorial sea is measured.

Decree nº 2013 of November 25, 1960 fixing limits of the different zones of navigation.

Ordinance 93022 of 4 May 1993 concerning the regulation of fishing and aquaculture establishes the basics of the fishing management process in the second chapter entitled «fisheries management». It stipulates that the fisheries and aquaculture minister must prepare and keep up to date the fisheries management and fish stock conservation plans.

In 2000, the Madagascar Government made major changes to the system of granting licenses for industrial and artisanal shrimp fishing (Decree No. 000-415 of 16 June 2000). The measures include regulation, specification and transfer of fishing licenses, introduction of a new scheme of fishing areas and the specifications for artisanal and industrial vessels, underscoring Decree of 26 August 1993 and trawling specifications as described later in the Decree No. 2003-1101 of 25 November 2003[3].

In 2005, the government started regulating the shrimp fishing sector as described in the Decree No. 060/2005 of 17 January 2005

International Laws and Agreements to which Madagascar is Party

United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (1982)

Popularly known as UNCLOS, the Law of the Sea Convention or the Law of the Sea treaty, this international agreement defines the rights and responsibilities of nations with respect to their use of the world’s oceans, establishing guidelines for businesses, the environment, and the management of marine natural resources. Madagascar ratified UNCLOS in 2001.

Agreement for the promotion of the respect of international management and conservation measures for fishing vessels on the high seas and the Code for Responsible Fishing

This agreement dictates measures for the member countries to take to ensure that fishing vessels flying its flag do not engage in any activity that undermines the effectiveness of international conservation and management measures. The agreement is applied to all fishing vessels that are used or intended for fishing on the high seas.

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (1992)

The Convention aims to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations “at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic (human induced) interference with the climate system.” It states that “such a level should be achieved within a time-frame sufficient to allow ecosystems to adapt naturally to climate change, to ensure that food production is not threatened, and to enable economic development to proceed in a sustainable manner.”

The Paris Agreement

The Paris Agreement’s central aim is to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change by keeping a global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Additionally, the agreement aims to strengthen the ability of countries to deal with the impacts of climate change.

Convention on Biological Biodiversity (1992)

This Convention supports Madagascar to conserve biological diversity, promote the sustainable use of its components, and encourage equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources. Such equitable sharing includes appropriate access to genetic resources, as well as appropriate transfer of technology, considering existing rights over such resources and such technology.

The Convention places a duty on States Parties to conserve biological diversity within their jurisdiction, as well as outside their jurisdiction in certain cases (art. 4); requires States to cooperate in preserving biological diversity in areas out of national jurisdiction (art. 5); conferring responsibility on States Parties for the formulation and implementation of strategies, plans or programmes for the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity (art. 6).

2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015, provides a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future.

One of the Sustainable Development Goals adopted is Goal 14: Life below water, which aims to sustainably manage, use and protect marine and coastal ecosystems from pollution, as well as address the impacts of ocean acidification. Learn more about SDG 14: Life below Water.

Marine Protected Areas

Target 5 of the SDG 14 is to conserve at least 10 per cent of coastal and marine areas, consistent with national and international law and based on the best available scientific information by 2020. Nairobi Convention is supporting Madagascar meet the obligations under SDG Targets 14.2 and 14.5 and Aichi Target 11, besides other SDGs by publishing the Marine Protected Areas (MPA) Outlook for the Western Indian Ocean (WIO) region.

Madagascar has made significant progress towards increasing the total coverage of MPAs, thanks in large part to the commitment made during the 2003 Durban conference (at which the government committed to increasing the country’s land and marine protected areas from 1.7 million hectares to 6 million hectares).

During the 2014 World Congress Park in Sydney, the government further pledged to triple the surface area of its MPAs by 2025, with the aim of conserving Madagascar’s unique biodiversity and promoting Local Marine Management Areas (LMMAs) to involve coastal communities in management). Work to fulfill these two commitments has brought significant economic, social, and environmental benefits to the country.

Indeed, there are now 22 MPAs protecting 1.26% of Madagascar’s EEZ, which has led to substantial progress in promoting food security and jobs for coastal communities, as well as in protecting coral reefs, seagrass, mangroves, and islands. Find out more about the Marine Protected Areas in Madagascar at the Nairobi Convention Dashboard here.