The reef in Toliara, Madagascar is the third largest coral reef system in the world. The reef is made up of barrier and fringing reefs and shallow lagoons. There are more than 6,000 species of wildlife living in this reef system, including sea turtles from all over the Western Ocean and the Coelacanth, a 400 million year old species of fish. Recently there has been a lot of pressure put on the region as local human populations has greatly increased, driving up the demand for harvesting of seafood. This is one of many threats to the area. According to WCS, "global demand for shark fins and sea cucumbers has created a major export market for these species in Madagascar. Poor law enforcement and ineffective resource management have contributed to overexploitation of these and other marine species. The barrier reef is also significantly affected by climate change; past bleaching events have had devastating impacts on the reef system. Improved fishery management and conservation measures are critical for the survival of this ecosystem.”
In order to combat these significant threats, organizations like WCS and WWF have established campaigns to help protect the Grand Recif of Toliara in addition to maintain the heath and stability of their shark and ray fisheries. The reef has also been designated as a Hope Spot by Mission Blue.