Jean Luc Ramahavelo, Madagascar

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Jean Luc Ramahavelo, Blue Ventures Madagascar

SCGIS Profile   


2016 Presentation -(abstract below) 

2016 Video -mp4 






2016 Profile: Jean Luc RAMAHAVELO d
Organization name: BLUE VENTURES
*-Organization full street address (in your local format): II M 98 H Antsakaviro – 101 ANTANANARIVO
*-Organization full mailing address, if different: Blue Ventures, Level 2 Annex, Omnibus Business Centre, 39-41 North Road, N7 9DP- ENGLAND
*-Work phone with country and area code: + (261) 34 48 984 85
*-Work fax with country and area code:
*-Main email:
*-Organization Web site URL if any:

history of your personal work in conservation and GIS: In August 2013, I started working full time for Blue Ventures as a Data Management Officer. My role in conservation is to ensure the input of all fisheries data by overseeing a team of 5-10 data entry technicians, checking their work and the sending all to our head office to be added to our databases. Once checked and compiled, this data is analyzed and fed back to our community and private sector partners, allowing them to adjust and improve their fishery management strategies accordingly. The quality of the scientific data from the program really depends on my role. There are many variables to be entered, such as the weight of each individual fish, sex, the name of fishing site and the fishing area. For these last two, I must also provide a KML file and it was from this that my GIS experience began. The need to know octopus fishing sites and how local fishers refer to these sites led to Blue Ventures initiating a participatory mapping project in order to delineate these sites. This is the participatory mapping project that I now lead.

When I started this work, even if I had already done a course with Arc View 3.2 at university, I did not know much because I had not had the opportunity to practice. But my colleagues at Blue Ventures explained the following basic concepts which were then reinforced by a volunteer, Tom Leanerst:
Understanding the difference between raster and vector files,
How to use ArcCatalog and ArcMapd
Data organization
Basic geoprocessing tools: creating-editing shapefiles and analyzing vector data.
Transferring data between Google Earth, ArcGIS and GPS
Basic georeferencing
This last one is very useful for digitizing the scan of the maps that are hand drawn by the coastal communities.

Recently, in December 2015, Blue Ventures found an opportunity for me to attend a training course on GIS and remote sensing for sustainable forest monitoring and management in Nairobi / Kenya, organized by Indepth Research Service ( This was involving: 
The principles of GPS, GIS and Remote sensing
Understanding data acquisition in using GPS and Open Data Kit (ODK)
How to extract Satellite images
How to integrate Imagery and Remote Sensing into Idrisi (Signature development, Supervised Classification, Unsupervised Classification) and how to import these data into ArcGIS.

Please describe the work that your current organization does:
 Blue Ventures is a science-led social enterprise that develops transformative approaches for nurturing and sustaining locally led marine conservation. The organization works in partnership with coastal communities in places where the ocean is vital to the culture and economy, and promotes transformative and integrated approaches to marine conservation and coastal poverty alleviation. Blue Ventures has operated field programmes in Belize, Fiji, Malaysia, Madagascar and Ghana. Blue Ventures is currently operating in Madagascar and Belize. The promotion of community-based tropical marine conservation forms the dcornerstone of Blue Ventures’ work, which focuses on developing innovative models for sustaining and scaling locally-led marine conservation.

Blue Ventures recognizes that managing fisheries and marine resources works best when it is in the hands of local communities. This is particularly the case in low-income countries, where the national capacity for enforcement of marine and fisheries legislation may be weak. Blue Ventures' strategy focuses on empowering coastal communities to manage their own resources and developing effective, adaptive and locally appropriate conservation strategies, designed to sustain local fisheries and safeguard marine biodiversity.

To achieve these goals, Blue Ventures is conducting studies on fishery resource stocks and the biology of different species, to better support the communities we work with to sustainably manage their marine resources. GIS is an integral part of this work.

I am the Data Management Officer for Blue Ventures’ Sustainable Fisheries program. My main responsibilities are:
- Coordinating a large-scale mapping project of octopus fishing sites in the SW of Madagascar with regional partners
- Coordinating community fisheries data collection from 18 sites in collaboration with a wide range of community, public and private sector partners;
- Overseeing the data entry teams, ensuring the data are rigorously checked for accuracy before being compiled into databases;
- Coordinating data sharing with program partners to ensure they have access to up to date program results; 
- Developing capacity to take on an organization-wide role in coordinating fisheries geospatial data sets through in-depth training and mentoring.d

describe what is the most unique and the most challenging about the conservation/GIS work that you do:
While very rewarding, my experiences with Blue Ventures have at times been challenging. We work with remote coastal communities who have no experience in interpreting satellite imagery. While they are experts at navigating their fishing areas, this navigation depends entirely on landmarks that are visible from sea. These landmarks can be very hard to find in the satellite imagery and this frequently results in errors when they are delineating their fishing sites on the printed maps. Supporting the local fishers through this mapping exercise and consequently working with them to verify these sites is at once the most challenging and rewarding part of my conservation and GIS work, as I know the impact that the accuracy of these maps has on sustainable fishing in SW Madagascar.

paper you will present: 
GIS and Octopus fishing sites in South western of Madagascar

*-Abstract/summary of the paper you will present:
Marine ecosystems in the southwest of Madagascar are under pressure from fishers by the practice of bad fishing technique, beach seine, by using nets with very fine mesh, etc. Touched by this, Blue Ventures (BV) has settled with the objective to rebuilding tropical fisheries with local communities. BV recognizes too that managing fisheries and marine resources works best when it is in the hands of local communities. 



Marine ecosystems in the southwest of Madagascar are under pressure from fishers by the practice of bad fishing technique, beach seine, by using nets with very fine mesh, etc. Touched by this, Blue Ventures (BV) has settled with the objective to rebuilding tropical fisheries with local communities. BV recognizes too that managing fisheries and marine resources works best when it is in the hands of local communities. Many are the elements useful for achieving these objectives, which include mapping. In the fisheries project where I am working, knowing the surface of each fishing site in each village is very important to be able to determine the stock of resources that they produce, probably with other scientific data and to have the right choice of site for a reserve local. To do this, we took the methodology of participatory mapping because only the coastal communities who know their area. The method proceeds by: Collecting all of their landmarks that they use to locate when they go fishing. This involves by taking the geographical coordinates with communities’ help. These points will be transferred into Google Earth or ArcGIS (The choice depends on where we will work after about internet connecting, if there will have we use directly Google Earth, if not we use ArcGIS) which will easily guide the communities for the second spot below. Defining the boundaries of their each octopus fishing sites. When you will use ArcGIS, we print a Google Earth images with the landmarks and then puts above transparent papers, communities draw on those papers that we will scan after and then we georeferenced that in ArcGIS but, when we use Google Earth, we project directly Google Earth images and communities draw directly on. The day after we check some sites by taking the geographical coordinates of their corners and overlap them if they are right or not. Until now, we had already work in seven villages (Andavadoaka and Nosy Ve in the north of Toliara, Ambohibola, Andrenosy, Lembeitake, Ambola and Tariboly in the south of Toliara). In 50%, the results are satisfactory but, in other villages most of communities do not understand the image that we show them. That is why fisheries project does not stop searching a good method or good satellite images to help guide communities and simply georeferenced it in Arc GIS after.


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