Blue Ventures, marine conservation, marine wildlife, support local communities




Blue Ventures (BV) develops transformative approaches for catalysing & sustaining locally led marine conservation, in places where the ocean is vital to local cultures & its economies.

Blue Ventures is committed to protecting marine biodiversity in ways that benefit coastal people.

Blue Ventures' (BV) story started over a decade ago, surveying coral reefs in the Mozambique channel. Vezo communities in southern Madagascar were concerned about the decline of their fisheries, so BV supported one village to experiment with closing off a small section of their octopus gleaning area for a few months, to see whether this might boost productivity.

When the closure was re-opened, communities experienced a huge increase in octopus landings and fisher incomes. As news of this remarkable fishery boom spread, neighbouring communities started copying this approach. Crucially, this sparked interest in more ambitious coastal management efforts, leading to the creation of the country's first Locally Managed Marine Area (LMMA) governed by a small network of fishing villages.

Since then, this temporary fishery closure model has gone viral along thousands of kilometres of Madagascar’s coastline, spawning a grassroots marine conservation revolution with 64 more LMMAs established to date. Today, over 17% of the island’s seabed is managed by communities, for communities.

These experiences have guided our journey searching for new approaches to demonstrate that marine conservation can be in everyone's interest and that taking less from our ocean can give us much much more.



"A model for everyone working to conserve the natural life-support
systems of our troubled planet."
Sir David Attenborough

Renowned naturalist, broadcaster and presenter of the BBC's Madagascar series

"Blue Ventures does magnificent work, helping local communities and offering extraordinary volunteering opportunities that you'll remember for the rest of your life."
Simon Reeve

Adventurer, author and presenter of the BBC's Indian Ocean series

 - 2020 VISION -

Making Marine Conservation Make Sense

By demonstrating that effective marine conservation is in everyone’s interest, we're striving for impact at scale. We aim to reach at least three million people across the world’s tropical coastal regions by 2020.

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In 2017-2018 Blue Ventures Conservation spent 95% of our income on conservation activities.

A pie chart showing the breakdown of where the Blue Ventures funding comes from.
A pie chart showing the spend of the funds coming into the Blue Ventures organisation.


The conservation commitment conundrum

Marine conservation efforts often fail when short-term costs are perceived to outweigh future benefits, which may be uncertain. All too often, forgoing fishing in protected areas represents a severe economic sacrifice for coastal communities, and the promised ‘spill­-over’ benefits of marine protection can be slow to accrue. As a result, conservation goals are often at loggerheads with local needs, disenfranchising traditional resource users.

Reconciling the interests of the conservation and fishing sectors requires new approaches that overcome the opportunity costs of surrendering fishing in a protected area, in timeframes that work for communities. BV's models work by demonstrating that sustainable fisheries management can yield meaningful economic benefits for communities and seafood buyers, in realistic timescales. Only by making this connection can marine conservation be sustained and scaled beyond its current limited scope.

Making marine conservation make sense

Time and again marine conservation efforts break down because they fail to resonate with the needs of coastal communities. Such failure is avoidable since coastal populations have the greatest long-term interest in conservation success. Blue Ventures is committed to tackling this conundrum by developing conservation models that work for people, showing that effective marine conservation is in everyone’s interest.

BV works from the grassroots, placing responsibility for fisheries management in the hands of local communities. This is particularly necessary for low-income countries, where there is often limited central capacity and infrastructure for marine management.

Their models play a critical role in rebuilding coastal fisheries, providing effective and replicable approaches for reversing marine biodiversity loss, improving food security and building socio-ecological resilience to climate change.

Scaling impact

BV created the largest Locally Managed Marine Areas (LMMAs) in the Indian Ocean, proven new models for community-led fisheries management, built sustainable aquaculture businesses, and developed effective approaches for integrating community health services with marine conservation. Their award-winning ecotourism social enterprise provides year-round sustainability and match funding to enhance the impact and stability of the field programmes.

Over the past decade, the BV models have guided national fisheries policy and been replicated by fishing communities, NGOs, businesses, donors and government agencies along thousands of miles of coastline.

By demonstrating that effective marine conservation is in everyone’s interest, BV strives for impact at scale. They aim to reach at least three million people across the world’s tropical coastal regions by 2020.




Since 2003 Blue Ventures has have been working with divers to develop locally-led marine conservation initiatives in places where the ocean is vital to local cultures and economies. One of these places is TIMOR-LESTE (or East Timor).

Join one of the trips where you'll help in collecting key reef monitoring data, supporting alternative livelihoods & gain a deep insight into how Blue Ventures' community conservation projects operate. You'll also be contributing as you share learning from locally-led marine conservation models & join as ambassadors of this approach, helping BV raise awareness of the urgent need for tropical marine conservation & a community-first approach.

Divers are vital to the success of marine-based projects. BV is committed to delivering high quality, rewarding trips that benefit divers, their host communities & the fragile marine environments in these areas.

Expedition Description

Dive in the natural underwater paradise of Timor-Leste where you’ll assist an international team of marine biologists & field scientists surveying the most biodiverse waters in the world. 

Working from the remote island of Atauro, Blue Ventures’ volunteers have the opportunity to gain real marine conservation and field scientist experience whilst making meaningful contributions to our marine conservation research and coastal community work.

Live in beachfront eco-cabins just meters away from one of the world’s most beautiful and biodiverse coral reefs.

The expedition fee covers:

  • Accommodation - bunk beds
  • Share facilities
  • Food (three meals a day)
  • Marine science training
  • All dives (2 per day – 6 days per week),
  • Listed activities & excursions
  • The main bulk of your dive gear
  • In-country transfers

Subscribe for date releases


888 Collins Street
Melbourne VIC 3000, AUS

+61 (0)3 9133 6545



Note: These were the terms before the Corona Virus outbreak. They may change but can be used as a guideline.

A deposit will be required on booking to secure your spot. With full payment required 50 days before arrival date.


  • Minimum of certified Open Water Diver level


  • Travel Insurance & Dive Insurance is mandatory - Insurance must cover emergency evacuation & medical costs
  • (Standard dive wavier & liability wavier will need to be signed on board. A PADI sample copy is here. Any medical questions with a yes MUST be accompanied with a doctors clearance as be outlined in the document)


  • A non-refundable deposit of $500 GBP per person will be applied to secure your spot
  • Full payment due 50 days before the departure date


  • up to 51 days until departure date loss of deposit
  • 50 days or less from scheduled departure date 100% cancellation fee (full trip cost) is applied