The new Oceanographic Research Center in South East Madagascar – one year later

Madagascar has created recently a new Oceanographic Research station on its south east coast. To fill the gap in this hidden part of the island, in terms of biological, marine environment and fisheries information, both nationally for Madagascar and for the border Western Indian Region, the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research create a new oceanographic research station in the south east.

The New Oceanographic Research Station and sea surface temperature at the south coast of Madagascar

The station has been inaugurated in May 2013, at Ampatsinakoho, Vangaindrano district, it now has one year. You can learn more about the CNRO in its website.

After one year of existence, the station functions slowly but surely. The most important problem is the lack of funding. Some auto funding activities are planned to be implemented for 2014-2015 in order to compensate the lack of financing. One of our big hopes is the biodiversity project of the Indian Ocean Commission, funded by the EU, which will begin in August 2014. We plan to submit a proposal concerning a local community marine protected area. There is a big opportunity for ecotourism (whale watching, based boat observation for biodiversity etc.) which could allow local peoples benefiting the advantage of biodiversity conservation.

Another action plan, for the short term, is to undertake a Rapid Assessment Program to allow having database about the unknown biodiversity of this part of the world.

Read the progress report to see what achievements are to be celebrated one year after the station's inauguration: Progress report June 2013 – June 2014

Madagascar is the fourth biggest island of the world, with more than 5600km of coastline and an estimated length of coral reefs exceeding 3000km (Cook & al., 2000), existing mainly in the west coast and a limited part of the north east. As the coral reefs constitute a very attractive study area, related to its biodiversity riches, all efforts in terms of marine sciences in Madagascar, were concentrated, up to now, in the west coast were are based the Oceanographic Research Center (CNRO of Nosy-Be), in the north-west, and the Institute of Fisheries and Marine Sciences (Institute Halieutique et des Sciences Marines de Toliara), in the south - west. There is nothing specialized in marine sciences along the east coast, which reach along 1500km and also the Indian Ocean side of Madagascar where many oceanographic studies need to be undertaken (evolution of climate change, south equatorial current, upwelling zone, coastal erosion etc.).

About biodiversity, the south-eastern tip, reaching approximately 500km long, is still a wild region, never prospected in terms of scientific inventory.