This young man walked 2 hours in the bush from his village. Here, he knows he will capture wild sea horses, a protected specie, that a clandestine chinese reseller will then buy from him. He has no other way as the lagoons are getting empty
The wild sea horses harvest of a Vezo fisherman. It is a protected specie but chinese smugglers buy them over $10 piece. Life is hard for the Vezo villagers as population growth lead to overfishing.
Two young boys walk to the ocean to fish wild sea horses in the lagoon. It is a protected specie but chinese smugglers buy them over $10 piece. Life is hard for the Vezo villagers as ppoluation growth lead to overfishing.
Within IOT laboratory. Teaming with a local university, IOT invented a new sea cucumber breeding process. To develop it on the long term they involved the villages of the coast to fight against overfishing
Within IOT laboratory where sea cucumbers larvas are being breeded.
Jaco Chan, the founder and director of IOT pose on the road to Tulear port where is IOT offices and from where he exports sea cucumbers to China. He spent all hi life in Madagascar, started to run an Octopus export company in his 30s.
IOT employees go to work in the countryside near Tulear. IOT provide them free transport morning and evening. IOT has created over 85 full time job in this area over 2 years
An employee count the cucumbers larvas manually to get information on their death rate. There could over hundreds in a bucket as he as on his feet.
IOT temporary employees are working on the construction of a new sea cucumber ponds.
As of now 24 ponds are being used, but over 40 are needed within a few months.
IOT team work at night to pick the sea cucumbers larvas in the company’s pond to transfer them in plastic bags full of water. Harvest has to be done at night as cucumber hide in the sand during the day.
An employee of IOT show the sea cucumbers larvas he has collected in one of the pond of the company. Packed in plastic bag with water, this larvas will travel over 100 kilometers during 10 hours to reach the partner Vezo villages.
After a night of sea cucumber collecting, IOT employees are warming around a fire. Within a few hours a 4*4 vehicule loaded with cucumbers larvas will leave for a 10 hours drive to the sea shore villages.
The road going from Tulear where the IOT office and ponds are to the Vezo villages partners. Its is up to 12 hours of a nasty trail to reach them with no time to lose as larvas will die if they stay too long out of the sea.
IOT employees walk to the company sea cucumbers gardens near Tulear. About 30% of the production is handed to villagers the rest grow here during about a year. IOT has now 9 hectares of garden; soon 150 will be necessary
Women work on cleaning the fences of the sea cucumbers garden. It is important to let the water flow to bring all the nutriments cucumbers need. In 2 years, IOT created about 50 temporary jobs in this very rural area with little opportunities.
IOT and the partner NGO hired military men to secure the villages and the sea gardens which reduced the attacks by armed bandit. This military men help also villagers to travel safely along this coast.
Village of Tampolve. This is a Vezo village, whose culture is strongly linked to the sea.
A father pose with his daughter in the early morning after a night of sea cucumbers harvest in the village of Tampolove.
A family walking to the place in the lagoon where they have set up their seaweed breeding place.
A couple is setting up cuttings of seaweeds on a line in a lagoon near Tampolove. IOT provide the cuttings to the villagers which allow them to avoid using wild ones as they start to disapear because smugglers buy them
Villagers are compressing seaweeds in bags after they dried seeveral days at the sun. They will then be sold to IOT company. This harvest is done twice a month and generate an important income in this poor rural area.
A young girl pose proudly on the village seaweed harvest of the day. Every month, 30 tons are packed by the 250 villagers generating an additional monthly income of 30€ for each of them.
Alex a villager working for IOT is writing how many kilos of seaweed every villagers has brought. The young woman is waiting to be pâid after she had brought her harvest.
Cemetery of the Vezo village of Sarodrano. Sea farming allowed to reduce the mortality among the men, as they abandoned using aged diving bottles causing a lot of accident to fish wild cucumbers.
Into the school of Tampolove village. School fee is about $6 a month. Sea cucumbers agriculture allowed to increase the income of the villagers and school saw many mew kids arrive since then.
A Vezo family in front of their home. Switching from fishing to agriculture allow also the men to stay longer with their wife and kids as fishing could lead them away for many days.
Two men are reparing their sea garden fence during the low tide. This sea cucumber culture is environmental neutral as the animal is needing no specific food nor chemical products to support its growth.
At night, twice a month during the low tide, villagers walk to the sea garden they have set up at 1/2 mile from the coast. There for many hours they will pick up sea cucumbers with flash lights and then have them weighted to keep only the bigger ones.
A watchtower was set up to avoid theft: each cucumber are worth about $3, the equivalent of income generated by one day of traditional fishing.
A man is beginning to pick sea cucumbers in his garden at a 20 minutes walk with low tide from the sea shore.
Sea farmers gather around a table where cucumber are weighted. Only animals above 400 grams are kept the other ones are thrown back to the sea. It is very important for Vezo people, traditional fishermen to maintained a close link with the sea.
As overfishing emptied the lagoon, the wage created by breeding and selling cucumbers became necessary to feed families. They make about $40 per month, not much but more than 80% of the Madagascan.
In the morning after the harvest, sea cucumbers are emptied and then cooked. They will then be transported to the port of Tulear, and there they are dried and exported in China.
IOT employees work to polish sea cucumbers after he was dried. It is the last step before they are shipped to China to be sold up to 350€ per kilo. This is for now done manualy the traditionnal way but this work will soon be done by a machine.
The prefect of the province of Tulear in his office during a meeting with Jaco Chan, IOT founder. For now, little is done for now by province or national state to help small companies grow.
IOT and an NGO finance money management courses for the villagers of Tampolove that started the sea cucumber agriculture to help them manage this extra income they create themselves.
This woman started the sea cucumber agriculture as her husband could not maitain their family any more. Earning about $40 a month hrough this new activity she was able to buy 3 goats and 6 plastic such as this one