Research Travel Program: Blue Ventures FYP, Madagascar - 3/15/13

Posted on Tue, March 26, 2013 by Carole Gaudet.

24 hours of site visits with Blue Ventures

We hit the ground running with Blue Ventures! Our first activity was a visit to Sarodrano, about 1.5hrs away from BV’s headquarters in Tulear. Sarodrano is one of three villages Blue Ventures  works with to grow and harvest sea cucumbers and seaweed. In the afternoon, we walked out about 600 meters off the beach coast to the sea cucumber pens (through beautifully clear and warm water) and then another 500 meters or so to the seaweed farms. We got to see first-hand the setup in place and ask on-the-spot questions about the supply chain details. After an amazing lunch of fresh fish, we conducted interviews with the 8 teams in Sarodrano involved with Blue Ventures. It was a great opportunity to get primary data on some of the key questions the organization wants to answer.

But we weren’t done yet! The sea cucumbers should be harvested during the low tide – right now, that means 1:30AM harvest time! We headed out with headlamps under the most incredible starry night any of us have ever seen. Team Blue Ventures participated in the harvest of 513 market-size cucumbers (greater than 350 grams), with a value of 1.5M AR (~700 USD). After being out until about 3AM, we got up at 6AM to head out to the IOT (for-profit partner of Blue Ventures) sea cucumber nurseries and their under-construction  hatchery. This afternoon, we will head out to IOT’s current hatchery, as well see the seaweed storage facility.