Reef Doctor

2 Project reviews of Reef Doctor

Project Details

Operating for 19 years, Reef Doctor is a UK-based, non-profit passionate about conservation and creating sustainable livelihoods for communities in Southwest Madagascar.

  • We marry conservation with social development by facilitating sustainable livelihoods and education as a countermeasure to over-exploitation. 

  • Our goal is to protect both marine and terrestrial habitats, and provide a self-sustaining pathway to poverty alleviation in the impoverished rural communities of Southwest Madagascar. 

  • We have worked in the Bay of Ranobe for 17 years, establishing long-standing harmony and effective partnerships with local communities.


We are collecting data on the health of marine habitats and fisheries to advise local communities, the Malagasy government, and regional and global scientific communities.


We protect and manage a diverse mix of habitats including coral reefs, seagrass beds, mangroves, and terrestrial forest.


We grow and transplant coral, and implement artificial reefs in an attempt to restore heavily damaged coral reefs and the associated wealth of biodiversity.


We create and nurture community-led initiatives to encourage sustainable fisheries management and turtle conservation.


We educate and involve local communities in conservation and sustainability to promote effective environmental stewardship.


We provide a pathway out of poverty through the development of sustainable alternative livelihoods in rural communities.


We empower marginalised women to promote gender equality.


We seek to improve the welfare of impoverished people that are heavily dependent on diminishing resources. Local communities are at the heart of all our projects.

The main focus of the project is on
NPO Status
Yes, registered non-profit organization
Foundation Year
Contact Person
Sergei Toscani
Spoken Languages

Social Impact

Our work addresses ecosystem degradation, natural resource over-exploitation, and extreme poverty.

Coral reefs, seagrass beds, and mangroves are among the world’s most valuable ecosystems, yet they are also the most endangered.

- Coastal Habitat Degradation -Coral reefs

Over the last few decades, numerous factors have led to significant coral mortality and widespread reef habitat degradation in shallow coastal waters. Today, the vast majority of what were once healthy coral-dominated reef habitats are now covered in mass swathes of macro-algae, reducing reef habitat complexity, productivity, and biodiversity.

Seagrass beds

Degradation of seagrass beds results in the loss of important feeding and nursery habitats for a variety of marine life including target fishery species and turtles.


Local coastal communities strongly depend on mangroves for wood (for charcoal and building materials) and their associated biodiversity (such as shrimp and crabs). The destruction of mangrove habitats in the region has serious ecological and social-economic consequences.

We monitor, manage, protect, and restore degraded coastal habitats in one of the world's largest barrier reefs; "Le Grand Recif de Toliara", to conserve biodiversity and conserve livelihoods.

- Terrestrial Habitat Degradation -

The Spiny Forest of Southwest Madagascar is one of the world’s most endangered and unusual habitats. Unfortunately, it is being destroyed at rapid pace due to the booming charcoal industry, building material demand, agricultural expansion and wildfires. This ecologically valuable habitat, of which relatively little is known, is becoming increasingly fragmented and in desperate need of protection.

We implement a sustainable charcoal project in this region to reduce threats to the Spiny Forest, and to counteract the effects of human degradation we aim to conduct reforestation of natural species.

- Marine Resource Over-Exploitation -

Degraded marine habitats and concentrated fishing pressure mean that fewer and fewer people can make their living from the ocean. The competition for marine resources and extreme poverty in these communities leaves little incentive for sustainable management.

Current fisheries catches are now exceeding sustainable levels, pushing small-scale fisheries increasingly closer to the verge of collapse. Since over-exploited fisheries, once the lifeblood of these communities, can no longer provide an adequate income, fishermen are become desperate and increasingly hunting those species with a high market value, such as turtles.

We support community-led sustainable marine management initiatives.

- A Scramble for Marine Resources -

The rapidly expanding population makes it more difficult for traditional Vezo fishing communities to depend on the sea. Furthermore, poor agricultural practices (slash and burn) have resulted in larger areas of land being unusable for crops, resulting in an influx of many farmers from the surrounding areas to fishing villages in the bay. Lack of cultural cohesion between the different tribes in the bay complicates the implementation of effective fisheries management.

We are providing coastal communities with alternative sustainable marine based livelihoods to reduce pressure on natural resources.

- Extreme Poverty & Food Insecurity -

In 2015-2016, we conducted a poverty assessment survey in 7 villages (including almost 2,000 people from 276 households) across the Bay of Ranobe. We identified 88% of people as living in acute poverty. Over 90% of respondents lived without access to improved sanitation facilities, clean drinking water, or electricity, and over 40% of children under 5 years of age suffered from malnourished related stunting.

We are working to alleviate poverty in these communities, through the provision of sustainable and lucrative alternative livelihoods, and aim to improve quality of life through social development initiatives.

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