Thursday, December 22, 2005

Christmas with Blue Ventures

On Friday night the Blue Ventures London-based contingent met at the office for the Christmas party, which involved copious amounts of….pizza (kindly donated by Pizza Hut) and general festive tomfoolery. A great time was had by all (we hope)!

Friday, December 16, 2005


'Reef Conservation UK', the annual meeting of the UK's coral reef science and conservation community, took place at London Zoo on Saturday 10th December. There was an excellent turnout for the event, with three sessions of stimulating presentations, discussing recent progress in coral reef ecology and conservation management.

Blue Ventures' marine scientists David Griffiths, Ellie Latrobe-Bateman and Emma Doherty, delivered three presentations discussing findings from the Andavadoaka project, details of which can be found on the research section of the BV website by clicking here. Additional research posters were also presented by the BV team, summarising findings from recent fisheries and TEK (traditional ecological knowledge) research efforts in Andavadoaka.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

We would like to congratulate Tom Hardy and Amelia Curd, our BV scientists, on their recent engagement. It would seem Andavadoaka's island paradise really is just too romantic! Richard has even bought a new hat.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

According to a new report by the European Environment Agency (EEA), 75 percent of Switzerland's glaciers will have melted by 2050 as a result of climate change. This will see populations concentrated in the centre of the country with deserts spreading in the south and ice sheets melting in the north. The previous 10% loss of Alpine glaciers during the summer of 2003 has been unprecedented in Europe for 5000 years.
Currently Europeans are travelling further and more frequently and therefore consuming the planet’s natural resrources at twice the world’s average rate, whilst becoming the fastest growing contributor to greenhouse gas emissions.
Professor Jacqueline McGlade, Executive director of the EEA urges politicians to be farsighted, saying ‘We need a gradual shift away from taxes on labour and investment towards taxes on pollution and the inefficient use of materials and land. We also need reforms in the way that subsidies are applied to transport, housing, energy and agriculture. We need subsidies encouraging sustainable practices and efficient technologies.’
This serves as another warning that we need to actively strive to reduce carbon emissions and slow down.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

News News News

Last week Blue Ventures staff were involved in meetings of all partners in the Andavadoaka project which BV is involved in. Field scientists Tom and Amelia gave presentation on BVs work on Finfish and Octopus monitoring and the ecological monitoring and Socio economic research coordinator Minna Epps gave talks on the village of Andavadoaka as well as progress of socio economic research, fisheries. Scientist Daniel Raberinary presented a history of the creation of the three new octopus reserves as a result of recent village meetings.

On 29th December a delegation of BV staff and volunteers, WCS and IRD went to the village of Lamboara to participate in the fomba for the closing of their new octopus reserve at Ampisaronga. We stopped to collect the president of Ampasilava on the way – who was going to Lamboara to inform them that the village of Ampasilava had agreed to join Lamboara in creating the reserve and participate in the salary of the guardian. The presidents of other surrounding villages of Lamboara, Tampolove and Ankilimalinike were also present to show their support of the reserve. We were treated to some dances and singing from a group of local women. We will also be visited by various local dignitaries including the Chef de Region, the Chef de District and the Mayor of Befandefa who will be taking part in a big ceremony in Andavadoaka to update the communities on the progress of the Andavadoaka project to jointly celebrate the closure of the three new Octopus reserves and to exchange ideas between communities.

This week has been a good one for charismatic megafauna - dolphins were seen on the way to a dive and a white tip reef shark spotted on another dive.

Staff and volunteers were also treated to two fascinating talks from our visiting taxonomic experts – one on the biodiversity of reef fish by Gerry Allen and the other about corals by Doug Fenner.

Meanwhile, the temperature continues to rise both on and out of the water in Andavadoaka and a short wetsuit is now plenty warm enough in the water. The rains have started inland but for the moment the coast is, as they say, clear.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Madagascar conquering the world….almost!

The final of the Confederation of African Rugby's Top 9 competition will be played in Paris at Stade Claude Luboz in the northern Paris suburb of Gennevillers on Saturday afternoon - an historic encounter. You might remember from a previous blog posting how the Malagasy team, known as the Makis, reached the final after a shock victory against the South-African amateur team. Joining the Makis in the final are Morocco, who whipped the Namibian team in Casablanca.
It is a special achievement for Madagascar in a special year because this year the Federation Malgache de Rugby is celebrating its centenary. This is the 3rd time the Makis will be playing in France, however it is their 1st test game.
Madagascar is presently ranked 43rd in the World, however with burgeoning interest and the Confederation final coming up, hopefully this is all about to change.