The Madagascar Health and Environmental Research-Antongil (MAHERY-Antongil) study cohort was set up in September 2015 to assess the nutritional value of seafood for the coastal Malagasy population living along Antongil Bay in northeastern Madagascar. Over 28 months of surveillance, we aimed to understand the relationships among different marine resource governance models, local people's fish catch, the consumption of seafood, and nutritional status. In the Antongil Bay, fisheries governance takes three general forms: traditional management, marine national parks, and co-management. Traditional management involves little to no involvement by the national government or non-governmental organizations, and focuses on culturally accepted Malagasy community practices. Co-management and marine national parks involve management support from either an non-govermental organization (NGO) or the national government. Five communities of varying governance strategies were enrolled into the study including 225 households and 1031 individuals whose diets, resource acquisition strategies, fisheries and agricultural practices, and other social, demographic and economic indicators were measured over the span of 3 years. Clinical visits with each individual were conducted at two points during the study to measure disease and nutritional status. By analyzing differences in fish catch arising from variation in governance (in addition to intra-annual seasonal changes and minor inter-annual changes), the project will allow us to calculate the public health value of sustainable fisheries management approaches for local populations. There is hope that coastal zones that are managed sustainably can increase the productivity of fisheries, increasing the catch of seafood products for poor, undernourished populations.
Read the article in Frontiers in Nutrition.