The president of Madagascar, Hery Rajaonarimampianina, has pledged to triple his country's marine protected areas and set up a legal framework to defend local communities' rights to manage their own fishing grounds.

The framework will formalise existing locally-managed marine areas (LMMAs), which now cover over 7% of Madagascar's waters.

According to Madagascar-based marine conservation organisation Blue Ventures, the announcement, which was made at the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN)'s recent World Parks Congress in Sydney, will mean the creation of a 4,300 kilometre-square locally-managed marine protected area across the Barren Isles group of small islands off the west coast of Madagascar.

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