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Of Whales and Dugongs: Examining the Rise of Colonial Conservation as Development in Madagascar’s Marine History

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This work explores how colonial marine conservation policy in Madagascar had the dual purpose of facilitating the expansion of capital and ‘civilising’ the way Malagasy fishers used marine resources. I analyse how the legacy of narratives that emerged to bolster state-led conservation intervention during the colonial period are still present in current conservation and development narratives, perpetuating in some cases the coloniser–colonised relationship between conservation organisations and local resource users. These findings indicate a need to revamp certain aspects of marine conservation legislation in Madagascar and the need for conservation organisations to explicitly acknowledge this history when working with local resource users in order to avoid reproducing historical injustices.
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Keywords: Madagascar; capitalism; civilising; colonisation; dispossession; fisheries

Appeared or available online: February 4, 2020

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