|The Transect Line - News from the Reef Check Global News Network
|Volume 7: Issue 1 - Spring/Summer 2007
| Reef Check International Declaration of Reef Rights
|In March, Reef Check unveiled the International Declaration of Reef Rights, a tool to promote action to save the world’s ravaged coral reefs in conjunction
with the International Year of the Reef in 2008. With a goal of one million signatures, the Declaration will be presented to the Heads of State of all 101 countries with coral reefs in early 2009.
The Declaration asks signers to pledge to take practical action to stop human impacts on coral reefs, such as choosing seafood that is caught in a sustainable
manner and supporting reef-friendly hotels and tourism operations.
“On a global scale we are winning some key battles but losing the war to save coral reefs,” said Gregor Hodgson, Reef Check Executive Director. “Many of the reefs I enjoyed 30 years ago have lost their living corals and are now sponge and algae reefs. The good news is that in cases where we stop abusing the reefs, they can recover naturally.”
Reversing the coral reef crisis is technically simple, but requires a large number of people worldwide to raise their voices and take personal action in united support of this mega-biodiversity ecosystem. Reef Check invites everyone to sign the International Declaration of Reef Rights, both to convince governments and international agencies that the citizens of planet earth care about the world’s coral reefs and to give voice to our pledge to better protect
this invaluable legacy for our children and for generations of ocean lovers to come. The Declaration of Reef Rights may be signed by visiting: www.reefcheck.org/petition/petition.php. The Declaration is off to a great start with over 3500 supporters from over 100 countries. The Declaration is also available in Chinese, German, French, Spanish, Japanese, Malay, and Swahili. In addition to signing, please pass the link on to friends, family and colleagues
who might be interested in doing the same.
|By Reef Check California Director, Dr. Craig Shuman
This has been a great year so far for both the Reef Check California Program and for California’s coastal resources. Early in the
year, ruling on an issue that is close to my heart, the Second
Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals stated that the Environmental
Protection Agency cannot allow power plants to
kill trillions of fish and larvae each year by sucking them
through their cooling water intakes. Withdrawing billions
of gallons of water from our coastal waters for cooling,
these intakes can have devastating impacts on local populations
of marine organisms. Hopefully this decision will
be the beginning of the end of once-through cooling and
help push our society to generate electricity through environmentally
friendly means. In February, the California
Ocean Protection Council adopted a resolution to reduce
and prevent marine debris1. Led by new Council member
Lieutenant Governor John Garamendi, the Council
adopted a series of far reaching goals that will significantly
reduce the amount of trash, especially plastic, in California’s
In April, the California Fish and Game Commission approved a new and
expanded network of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) along California's
central coast2. The new network includes 29 MPAs representing approximately
204 square miles (or approximately 18 percent) of state waters with
85 square miles designated as no-take state marine reserves along the Central
Coast from Pigeon Point in San Mateo County to Point Conception in
Santa Barbara County. Reef Check California survey sites in this region
were designated with this proposed network in mind and are going to be an
integral part of the long-term evaluation of these new MPAs. In addition,
RCCA surveys in northern and southern California will provide critically
needed baseline data to help assist this MPA designation process
when it expands throughout the entire State.
On the program side, it gives me great pleasure to announce that
we have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the
California Department of Fish and Game. This MOU formalizes
the relationship between Reef Check and the Department and
specifically recognizes the scientific rigor and importance of data
collected by Reef Check California trained divers. Please visit our
website to view the full MOU. We have also obtained funding to
support the expansion of our program into southern California.
Not only will this funding allow us to hire a southern California
Program Manager to complement Cyndi Dawson’s efforts on the
central coast, but it will also enable us to begin working on our
web-based interactive database to help disseminate our findings.
Speaking of the web, we have updated our website with a suite of
new tools to help you, our Reef Check members and divers, stay
connected. Please sign up for our forum and photo gallery so you can contribute
your stories and photos and plan surveys with your Reef Check
family. Last but very certainly not least, I would like to welcome Kristina
Finstad as our newest Reef Check California staff member. A very experienced
research diver and dive instructor, Kristy will help coordinate our
research and training efforts on California’s central and north coasts.
|Tribute to Christopher Haugen
|Reef Check California Loses the Perfect Volunteer
September 26, 1959 ~ November 11, 2006
|Chris proudly displaying his Reef Check gear
during training at Santa Cruz Island, April ‘06
Reef Check California volunteer Christopher Haugen
was lost in a sailing mishap on Nov. 11, 2006. A former
commercial diver with extensive experience on
and in the water, Chris was exactly the type of person
the Reef Check California Program was designed
for. Chris’ extensive knowledge of the marine environment
and passion for conservation led him, along
with partner Dida Kutz, to complete the first Reef
Check California volunteer survey on the central
coast at Lucas Pt. in Monterey Bay. Geared up with
their custom data slates and small Boston Whaler,
Chris and Dida were an inspiration to Reef
volunteers across the state and around the world.
Finding a way to give back to the ocean he cared so
much about by joining Reef Check, Chris was rarely
seen without his Reef Check hat and trademark
smile. Chris’ love of adventure, tremendous sense of humor, and extensive knowledge will be deeply
missed by his Reef Check family.
|Chris taking a break from the rigors of diving during
an abalone survey at San Miguel Island, August‘06
|Reef Check Champion: Ben Goldhirsh
|In January, the Reef Check Foundation had the pleasure
of acknowledging Ben Goldhirsh for his generous
philanthropic support of our organization and its
work to save the reefs of the world. The Goldhirsh
Foundation made a $50,000 contribution to Reef
Check in support of securing additional administrative
staff to further the work of our organization.
Ben Goldhirsh is the owner and founder of Reason
Industries which owns and operates GOOD magazine and Reason Pictures. Established in 2004, Reason
Pictures is a production company committed to developing and financing
projects that combine commercial entertainment with relevant content.
GOOD is a bi-monthly publication profiling and examining the people,
ideas, and institutions affecting change in the world.
Ben Goldhirsh is also active in both regional and international philanthropic
endeavors. As a director of The Goldhirsh Foundation, he supports dynamic
social programs, environmental initiatives, innovative medical research,
and leading cultural institutions.
Reef Check is grateful to Ben and The Goldhirsh Foundation for this important
leadership contribution, which we hope will inspire other individuals,
corporations and foundations to invest in strengthening the Reef Check
|Reef Check News
|EcoAction Program Update
|by Reef Check Program Manager, Cori Kane
Reef Check’s new EcoAction program is well on its way with over
140 certified trainers worldwide. In
less than six months, Reef Check
training teams have certified divemasters,
instructors and scientists in
more than 10 countries, including
Mexico, Belize, Dominican Republic,
Guatemala, Philippines, Indonesia,
Germany, Thailand, Malaysia, and
Australia. Certified trainers are
starting to offer the Discover Reef
Check and EcoDiver courses
through their own dive shops in
|Participants of Reef Check Malaysia’s 1st Instructor Training Course, Tioman
Island, February 27th—March 1st 2007
We’ve also had our first workshop in
the US for divemasters and instructors
to learn the new Reef Check
training methods, allowing them to offer these courses on expeditions to
coral reefs around the world. Please check the EcoAction page on our website to see all
associated dive centers currently offering the Reef Check training courses
and materials, and go take an EcoAction course on your next diving vacation!
If you do not see a Reef Check facility in your region, ask your local
dive shops to become a Certified Reef Check Facility.
We are also happy to announce that
the Caribbean Underwater Reef
Guides are hot off the press and are available for sale in Spanish and English. Take one underwater on
your next dive to help identify common
fish, invertebrate and substrate
types. It also includes a data slate and
pencil, so you can collect valuable species data and submit for inclusion
via the website to our global monitoring
database. Each time you conduct
a survey, you will learn a great
deal about each coral reef and assist
in conservation processes to help
ensure your favorite reefs are still
around for future generations. Check
out the SeaStore on our website to
order your copy today.
For US based divemasters and instructors, we are holding one more instructor
training session this year in Long Beach, CA. Check the training of
trainers calendar on the website homepage for current dates or contact email@example.com for information and to reserve your spot. Spaces are
limited, so sign up early! Check back often for new dates.
|Pasadena’s Vertical Wine Bistro Hosts Reef Inhabitants Preview
|RC Board Member Russ Lesser
presents Tara Roth McConaghy with
artwork from Balinese children
Photo: Helen Cherry
On January 30, 2007, Reef Check supporters were treated to a special sneak preview show of Reef Inhabitants at
Gale Anne Hurd’s Vertical Wine Bistro in Pasadena, California. Paolo Santos, cellist Marc Langis and a select group
of dancers from the Celine Dion Show in Las
Vegas previewed their unique dance and multimedia
show which will be an integral part of the
Reef Check International Ocean Festival in
Malibu on September 16th.
|Jennifer Pietro, Kelly Hu, Gregor Hodgson, Gale Anne Hurd,
Daryl Hannah, and Penelope Ann Miller Photo: Helen Cherry
Gale Anne Hurd and Tara Roth McConaghy, on
behalf of Reason Pictures and Good Magazine
founder Ben Goldhirsh (see Reef Check Champion)
were presented with artwork from Balinese
children for their support of Reef Check
and its efforts. The event was attended by a number
of Reef Check Foundation’s Board members
and new friends who all enjoyed the wine, food
and hospitality of Vertical Wine Bistro. Two
beautiful pearl necklaces from Tahiti Pearl Market and Maui Divers Jewelry were also auctioned off. Thanks to all
who attended and helped raise funds for Reef Check.
|A “Run For The Reefs” Weekend in Honolulu
|Kelly Hu during the marathon
Photo: Paolo Santos
On December 10, 2006, film and television star Kelly Hu made a “Run
for the Reefs”, collecting sponsorships for Reef Check Hawai’i for her
run in the 34th annual Honolulu Marathon. With coaching from Olympian
Carl Lewis, Kelly finished the marathon in 04:56:19, placing 381st in
her age division– an excellent result for a first timer!
|Chris Harrison, Victoria Pratt, & Carl Lewis enjoy
the luau Photo: Twain Newhart
After the marathon, Kelly Hu and Carl Lewis hosted a celebrity luau
fundraiser sponsored by Vonage for Reef Check Hawai’i at the Sheraton
Waikiki. Attendees included celebrities from Hawaii, Hollywood
and Japan: Daniel Dae Kim, Jason Scott Lee, Jonathan Silverman, Lance
Bass, Reichen Lehmkuh, Victoria Pratt and Mimi Rogers.
In all, the Run for the Reefs weekend raised over $100,000 for Reef
Check Hawai’i. These funds are being used to hire the first Reef
Check Hawai’i coordinator. Mahalo to everyone who participated and
supported this event!
|Reef Check Teams in Action
|Reef Conservation International Looks Back On A Successful Year in Belize
By April Ridlon and Bryan Bugler
Reef CI is a private, non-profit organization which is in its fourth year of partnership with Reef Check. In 2006,
Reef CI conducted Reef Check surveys at four sites within the Sapodilla Cayes Marine Reserve in Belize. In addition
to assessing the overall health of the barrier reef, commercially important fish species and potential water
quality impacts are also of special interest to Reef CI. These factors are also monitored so the data is as useful to
the local management of the SCMR as possible.
|Photo: Reef CI
The reefs at Reef CI’s four survey sites are characterized by rock/algae, hard coral, and sand substrate in that
order. The two least frequent substrates recorded at most sites were silt and nutrient indicator algae. The near
absence of both of these substrate types at nearly all sites is an indication of good health for these reefs. One
trend from the Reef Check substrate data shows that sites further from the continental shelf had a higher frequency
of hard coral, possibly indicating higher negative impacts or environmental conditions that affect coral
tolerance limits in areas of close proximity to the wall. This could be influenced by fresh water effluent from Honduras
and Guatemala, although it would not account for the
same fresh water effluent from mainland Belize itself. Water
quality testing planned for the 2007 monitoring year may provide more in-depth analysis of water quality
trends within the cayes and their possible affects on the reefs in these areas.
In comparison to other reef systems, the Sapodilla Cayes have a relatively high abundance of gorgonians.
At all sites, gorgonian species were by far the most abundant invertebrate recorded in 2006,
numbering in the hundreds at each site. Banded Coral Shrimp, Long-spined Black Sea Urchin, and Flamingo Tongue, in
that order, had the highest abundances for invertebrates beside gorgonians. The
fact that the aquarium and curio trades are virtually non-existent in the park probably plays a significant
role in the relatively high abundance of these species.
|Photo: Reef CI
At half of our sites, all fish families recorded by Reef Check were present during at least one survey,
showing a relatively high biodiversity for all sites in the Sapodilla Cayes. The family of fish with the
highest abundance for all sites was Parrotfish, followed by Grunts and Butterflyfish, with the family with the lowest abundance being Grouper. In fact, zero
Grouper other than Nassau Grouper were found at all sites in 2006, and no Grouper species at all, including Nassau, were recorded at one site. Despite
these results, Reef CI divers regularly see many species of grouper including Tiger, Black and Nassau Grouper as well as Red Hind and Rock Hind; several
of these sites are known spawning aggregations for these species. However, these species are typically seen at depths greater than 20 meters, and often
on wall sites. To resolve this, in addition to regular Reef Check fish surveys, Reef CI has begun a new survey technique specifically aimed at recording
population numbers for grouper and other commercially important species. If you are interested in getting involved with Reef CI, please visit www.reefci.com for more information.
|Coral Restoration In Old Providence Atoll After Hurricane Beta
|By Giovanna Peñaloza, Nicasio Howard, Harvey Robinson, Andres Talero, Renato Robinson, Mike Sanders,
Martha Prada, Fanny Howard, Delis Hernandez & Elizabeth Taylor
|Old Providence atoll is part of the San Andres Archipelago, located 480 miles northwest of the Caribbean
coast of Colombia, and constitutes the central section of the Seaflower Marine Protected Area (MPA), one of
the largest MPAs in the Americas at over 65,000 km2. This elongated atoll covers an area of 255 km2 and has
well developed reef habitats, including an extensive barrier reef and high coral cover and species richness at
Unfortunately, high water temperatures in 2005 resulted in coral bleaching and coral diseases such as white
plague, particularly at the coral patches. The stressed corals in Old Providence also suffered additional damage
due to Hurricane Beta, which crossed its northern end on October 27-28, 2005. Beta was a category one
hurricane with 110 km/hour (70 mph) sustained winds. After the hurricane, Reef Check coordinator Giovanna
Peñaloza participated in a r
apid evaluation of the corals and found that the two Reef
Check survey sites had
ittle damage, while the corals to the north suffered more damage. Approximately 20% of the coral colonies at
lagoonal coral patches, in the first 5 m of depth, were dislodged, fractured and subjected to erosion and upside
CORALINA, the MPA manager, with the support of the Ministry of Environment, contracted trained personnel
as well as recreational divers and artisanal fishermen to conduct a rapid assessment on the coral damage
and to perform coral restoration. A total of 186 coral colonies of sizes ranging from 15 to 65 cm in diameter
were re-attached and have been monitored every two months. Results have been used in several education
activities conducted by CORALINA. To the left and right are pictures of one coral colony showing coral recovery after coral restoration actions. Please contact Giovanna Peñaloza for more information.
|Reef Check Dominican Republic Receives 2006 CEMEX Environmental Award
| Reef Check Dominican Republic was recently awarded the 2006 CEMEX Environmental Award for its dedicated work towards environmental conservation.
CEMEX is a global cement industry leader which works to provide products of consistently high quality and reliable service to customers and communities
around the world promoting a sustainable future. The award consists of US$5,000 in cash and 50 "Conservacion Transfronteriza" books which
can be sold to produce a similar amount in profits for a total of US$10,000. RCDR will use these funds to support the national coral reef monitoring program
and to promote the establishment of no-take zones.
|Reef Check Réunion Teams Up With the Quiksilver Initiative
|by Jean-Pascal Quod
After participating in the Quiksilver Crossing with Kelly Slater, Jack Johnson, and other professional surfers
at the remote island of Europa in 2002, marine scientists from ARVAM-Réunion started a participatory
project with local surfers from Saint Leu, Hermitage, and Etang Salé as part of the Quiksilver Initiative in Réunion, a French island in the Indian Ocean.
|Local Reef Check Réunion team with Tom
The Quiksilver Initiative aims to raise environmental awareness among boardriders about environmental
issues that directly affect them, such as polluted water and the destruction of fragile reef systems. In
addition to Reef Check Réunion, the Quiksilver Initiative has supported organizations like Surfrider
Foundation Europe and Surfers Against Sewage.
Réunion coral reefs have been facing natural and human threats for two decades and need urgent management
actions to save corals. Reef Check surveys have been conducted with local boardriders on surf
spots for the last four years and will continue in 2007 with the involvement of other target stakeholders
such as schools and dive clubs. Reef Check coordinator Jean-Pascal Quod has requested that bacterial
levels also be surveyed at 10 coral reef locations. This can now be done with gear provided by the Quiksilver
Initiative and will contribute to the local Blue Flag certification process.
After 4 years of monitoring the surf spots, results show that there is no significant variation in benthic
communities and that fish populations, especially carnivorous fish, at the 3 sites are poor and correlated to overfishing. The formation of a Marine Natural
Reserve is not finalized, so there are no restrictions on fishing. ARVAM is also involved in providing the CoReMo (Coral Reef Monitoring) database entry and analysis system which will include the Reef Check protocols for fixed benthos, fish and invertebrate targets. This database should ensure interoperability
between various monitoring activities as well as various skill levels. Please contact Jean-Pascal Quod or Harold Cambert for more information.
|Coral Cay Conservation Continues Its Partnership With Reef Check
|By Jan-Willem van Bochove
|Coral Cay Conservation (CCC) is a UK-based non-profit organization at the cutting edge of community-based marine and tropical
conservation, dedicated to providing resources to help sustain livelihoods and alleviate poverty through the protection, restoration
and sustainable use of coral reefs and tropical forests. CCC is proud to be a regular contributor to the Reef Check global reef
health monitoring program. CCC volunteers from around the world are trained to conduct Reef Check surveys in some of the
most pristine and healthy reef environments found in the Indo-Pacific and has recently completed over 30 surveys in the Philippines
where over 80% live hard coral cover, more than two thirds of the Indo-Pacific’s hard coral species and some of the highest
fish diversity can be found on the fringing reefs of Sogod Bay, Southern Leyte. Unfortunately, the coastal area is under threat from
overfishing and sedimentation effects from upland deforestation. This is why CCC spends considerable time working with the local
community, organizing workshops for fishermen and teachers, housing open days for children at the expedition site and replanting
mangrove forests. CCC has also been pivotal in the establishment of four marine protected areas in the municipality of Padre Burgos.
Coral Cay has recently started an exciting new project, the Tobago Coastal Ecosystem Mapping Project, in Tobago, working closely with the Tobago
House of Assembly and the Buccoo Reef Trust as part of the ‘Caribbean-wide Integrated Watershed and Coastal Area Management project’ (IWCAM)
that sees 13 Caribbean island countries all committed towards managing their aquatic resources and ecosystems on a sustainable basis. Following the
Caribbean-wide coral bleaching event which affected the coral reefs of Tobago in late 2005, CCC provided technical assistance, resources and manpower to undertake a survey of the extent of this event on the coral reefs of Tobago. As part of this partnership, which has also received financial support from
the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Coral Cay will be monitoring the recovery and assess the general state of Tobago’s coral reefs,
thereby contributing to our understanding of the underlying processes that are threatening the local reef ecosystem.
The project, which starts in April 2007 for a period of two years, also includes a large education and community awareness program that includes training
in scuba diving and reef species identification for local counterparts to create in-country technical capacity.
If you want to step in and help conserve and protect the reefs of Tobago or the Philippines, please check out www.coralcay.org or e-mail
firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how you can join one of the CCC expeditions.
|Kosrae Village Ecolodge Celebrates 10 Years of Reef Conservation
|By Katrina Adams
Kosrae Village Ecolodge recently marked their 10-Year anniversary as the recipients of the 2006
AWARE Foundation Environmental Achievement Award. Other 2006 highlights included a twoweek
coral monitoring survey session, the formation of the Kosrae Reef Protection Community
Action Committee and the restoration of the mooring buoy system, all characteristic activities of
the 10-year campaign to preserve and protect Kosrae's critical coastal resources.
|Photo: Kosrae Village
Although the 2006 activities are significant in themselves, the positive changes that have occurred
on Kosrae over the past 10 years as a result of the Reef Protection Project are truly impressive.
Kosrae Village was founded with conservation and environmental issues in mind and opened for
business in September 1995. The formal Reef Protection Project got its start in 1996. That fall the
first of the annual groups of volunteer divers joined Kosrae Village owners and staff in the very first
coral monitoring session utilizing sport divers on Kosrae's pristine reef.
Kosrae Village was instrumental in the 1997 mooring buoy system installation, which placed 56 buoys on 43 miles of reef. This community project brought
together fishermen, Kosrae State staff and dive operators to plan the installation, raise funds, acquire the equipment and install the buoys. In 1998, the
Kosrae Conservation and Safety Organization was founded as an NGO focusing on marine and terrestrial environmental protection and conservation.
Coral monitoring has continued to be the cornerstone of the Reef Protection Project; every year since 1996 Kosrae Village has recruited a group of volunteer
divers to join local divers in surveying the current state of the reef. Over the years this continuing effort has created a profound change on the
island. In 1996, coral monitoring and reef conservation and protection as a whole were seen as activities that had little or no meaning for the Kosraean
community. That attitude has changed over the years so that almost anyone on the street can now explain the value of the reef resources and the importance
of using the resources in a sustainable manner. As PADI instructors, owners Bruce and Katrina have been responsible for most of the dive training
on Kosrae Island. Additionally, a strong environmental message is incorporated in their scuba training as the Kosrae Island Reef Check coordinator Katrina
has trained many local and visiting divers in the Reef Check survey techniques.
Most recently, after feeling the need to more directly involve the community in reef protection activities, Kosrae Village organized the "Kosrae Reef Protection
Community Action Committee" with an overwhelming response from environmentalists, dive operators, resource managers, State legislators,
community leaders and fishermen. If you would like more information about the Reef Protection Project and how you can get involved, please contact
Katrina at email@example.com
|Marine Protected Areas
|Reef Check Dives Into the Marine Ornamental Industry
Using the Marine Ornamental Trade to create Marine Protected Areas
| By Reef Check Executive Director Gregor Hodgson
Home aquaria have come a
long way in the past 10
years and hobbyists from
Tokyo to Los Angeles can
now reliably keep hundreds
of fish, corals and other
invertebrates for many
years. Some 80% of the
organisms traded in this
$300 million global industry
are caught by poor fishermen
in the Philippines and
Indonesia and exported to
the US, Europe and East
Asia. Organisms are also
collected in a dozen other
countries in the Pacific and
Caribbean. Unfortunately, without proper management, this fishery can
damage the coral reef ecosystem through overfishing, fishing unsuitable species
that will quickly die in captivity and by use of poisons, especially cyanide,
that can damage the surrounding reef.
|Ornamental fisher using the barrier method of
catching fish in Marcilla, Coron, Calamianes,
Philippines Photo: Pepo Pasigna
For the past three years, Reef Check has been working with two partners
to create and implement a certification program for the trade in aquarium
species to make it sustainable. Community Conservation
Investment Forum is working
on making the business more efficient, while the
Marine Aquarium Council has
designed the certification program to cover the
entire supply chain from collection to sale. This
work has been supported primarily by grants from
the International Finance Corporation through the
Global Environment Facility, and by USAID, Packard
and MacArthur Foundations.
The Reef Check ‘niche’ in a sustainable trade
Reef Check has developed a tool kit of scientific and management activities to help transform the marine
ornamental industry into a sustainable trade. The
four main components are resource assessment,
management planning and rehabilitation and establishment of Marine Protected
|Reef Check staff reviews monitoring protocol with
fishermen on board a local boat, Bohol, Philippines
The starting point for managing marine resources is to determine the extent
of the existing resources – in this case the coral reef and related ecosystems
as well as the numbers and sizes of the organisms living there. Reef Check
designed the Marine Aquarium Trade Coral Reef Monitoring protocol
(MAQTRAC) to carry out baseline surveys and regular monitoring of collection
areas. The results of the surveys are analyzed using fisheries stock
assessment models to determine what level of catch can be allowed without
damaging the populations or the ecosystem as a whole. These numbers are
then used to recommend catch limits to the local council responsible for
managing the resources.While the detailed MAQTRAC surveys and stock analyses are carried out
by Reef Check marine biologists, they also train local fishermen to carry out
standard Reef Check surveys. By collecting their own data, the fishermen
can see for themselves the status of the existing fish and invertebrate stocks
and buy into the process of resources management.
Coastal Management Planning
For coastal management to succeed, it must be formally adopted by the
local government and include a cross-section of stakeholders – the people
affected by management decisions. Stakeholders include marine ornamental
collectors, other coastal users, and staff from environmental groups, academic institutions, government agencies and businesses. Reef Check helps to
set up a legally recognized council comprised of local stakeholders with
clearly defined functions. Reef Check scientists and coastal planners work
with the local stakeholders to identify management problems and to identify
Reef Check helps the stakeholders to draft a
resource management plan for the areas. The
management plan is a comprehensive document
that defines the area to be managed and
establishes rules for managing the resources.
Reef Check focuses not only on creating the
management plan but also in assisting the local
stakeholders to implement the plan. For example,
if one area is being too heavily fished a
recommendation might be made to reallocate
fishing effort to other areas. If poachers are
fishing in the area, a deterrent system would
Marine Protected Areas
|Reef fish larvae collected in special light traps are
grown out in aquaria until they reach a size and
swim speed that helps to increase their survival
when released back onto the reef
A major goal of the management plan is to
identify areas of coral reef and surrounding ecosystem that can be set aside
in perpetuity as no-fishing zones i.e. Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). The
boundaries of the MPAs need to be selected, recorded and marked. A
scheme for managing and enforcing the new MPA is required.
When properly managed and enforced, Marine Protected Areas lead to fish
biomass build up, increased spawning capacity and fish catches, as well as income from activities such as tourism.
Unfortunately, few of the declared MPAs in Southeast Asia have been successful due to a lack of financial
incentives to maintain them. By giving the reef more value, the marine aquarium trade provides
leverage to set up and maintain MPAs next to the collection areas.
By the end of 2006, using this system, Reef Check helped to establish sustainable management systems
at fourteen collection areas in seven provinces, in ten municipalities and districts encompassing 229
square kilometers of reef area in the Philippines and Indonesia. Seven MPAs with a total area of 2
square kilometers were strengthened in the provinces of Bohol and Palawan and these include seagrass
and coral reef ecosystems. To help evaluate the MPAs,
Reef Check uses an MPA rating system to check on the quality of the management (White et al, 2006).
|Following a one-month grow out, Reef Check scientists
and local fishermen prepare to release juvenile
fish on to a coral reef in Bohol, Philippines to measure
Coral Reef Rehabilitation
In some cases, coral reefs have been damaged
to such an extent that rehabilitation is required.
When coral reefs are damaged on a small scale
(tens of square meters), it may be possible to
stop the cause of their initial demise (e.g. pollution,
diver damage) and then physically replant
small corals and attaching them to the substrate. This method is expensive and labor intensive and
does not address the typical problem of a lack of fish diversity and abundance. Usually, the area of
damaged reefs is large, on the order of tens of square kilometers, therefore replanting is not practical.
Reef Check has been working with a French company, Ecocean, to rehabilitate coral reefs by
restoring fish populations to their natural equilibria. By restoring the fish populations, the corals will
return naturally. This Reefhab© technique involves using special traps to capture fish post-larvae
that arrive on the reefs at night to settle, and then growing them to a larger size. It is inexpensive to
grow such small fish (0.5 to 1 cm long) and after 1 to 3 months they can be returned to the reef
where they can have a higher chance of survival due to their increased swimming speed. This Reefhab
method is being implemented in Bohol and holds promise of large-scale and rapid reef rehabilitation
that will last.
|Mark Your Calendars
|2007 Clean Oceans Conference: June 9-10, 2007
|On June 9th and 10th, Save Our Seas (of Kaua’i, Hawai’i) and Reef Check
Foundation will cosponsor the “The 2007 Clean Oceans Conference”,
which will be held at the Princeville Resort in Kaua’i, Hawai’i.
1997 was the first International Year of the Reef, and was an awareness
building year for the world’s oceans and coral reefs. The 2007 Clean
Oceans Conference support the International Coral Reef Initiative, NOAA
and Reef Check Foundation in choosing 2008 as the International Year of
This year marks the 10th anniversary of the first ever Reef Check in the
world, which was completed in Kaua’i on the reef adjacent to the Princeville
Hotel. The Clean Oceans Conference will mark this anniversary by presenting
scientific papers comprised of data secured through Reef Check
coordinators throughout the world, and the opening presentation of the
scientific session will be delivered by Reef Check’s own Dr. Gregor Hodgson,
who will address the topic “Finding Effective Solutions to Coral Reef
Conservation.” In that presentation, Dr. Hodgson will address current
problems on the world’s reefs, review where we have come over the last
ten years, and propose various ways that we can save the world's reefs
through research, education and conservation.
Please visit http://www.reefcheck.org/news/event_detail.php?id=212 for more details.
|Reef Check International Ocean Festival: September 16, 2007
Join Reef Check in beautiful Malibu for the Reef Check
International Ocean Festival: A Day in Paradise. The
daytime festivities will be free to the public and will
feature educational games, demonstrations and performances
from many nations, including Thailand, Indonesia
and Brazil, and a special tribute to our own Eddy
Medora. We will dedicate the Eddy Medora Memorial
Reef, which will be monitored in perpetuity in his
|Photo: Paolo Santos
There will be lots of fun activities for families and children,
and each child will receive a copy of our children’s
book, “Reef Check Adventures”, and will be
treated to a special movie screening of a Sony Pictures
animated feature film, with the title to be announced in
The evening program will include a special VIP reception,
silent auction, dinner and a performance of “Reef
Inhabitants”, a multi-media extravaganza of dance, music
and multi-media art to raise awareness about the
crisis affecting our oceans and coral reefs. The live
show features performances by the Celine Dion dancers
and cellist Marc Langis, with musical score and
video by Paolo Santos and choreography by Caroine
Sicard. The Poseidon Award will be presented to
internationally renowned marine biologist and current
“explorer-in-residence” at National Geographic Dr.
Sylvia Earle. Dr. Earle was named Time Magazine’s
first “hero for the planet”, and has pioneered research
on marine ecosystems through more than 50 expeditions
totaling over 6000 hours underwater. The Reef
Rescue Award will be awarded to Malibu’s Daryl Hannah, and the new California Reef Rescue
Award will be presented in memoriaum to Eddy Medora
and invited honoree Jeff Bridges, both for their
contributions as custodians of the local California
coastal environment. The evening will be capped with
a concert on the beach, cosponsored by GOOD Magazine.
To reserve your place at the event or for information
on how to sponsor a table, please contact Reef Check
at (310) 230-2371 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
|2008: International Year of the Reef
|Ten years ago, 1997 was declared the International Year of the Reef (IYOR)
in response to the increasing threats and loss of coral reefs and associated
ecosystems, such as mangroves and sea grasses. IYOR was a global effort to
increase awareness and understanding about coral reefs, and support related
conservation, research and management efforts.
IYOR 97 proved to be very successful with over 225 organizations in 50
countries and territories participating, over 700 articles in papers and magazines
generated, hundreds of scientific surveys undertaken, and gave rise to
new marine protected areas as well as numerous local and global coral reef
conservation dedicated organizations.
Recognizing that ten years later there continues to be an urgent need to
increase awareness and understanding of coral reefs, and to further conserve
and manage valuable coral reef and associated ecosystems, the International
Coral Reef Initiative designated 2008 as the International Year of
the Reef (IYOR 2008).
International Year of the Reef 2008 will:
- Strengthen awareness about the ecological, economic, social and cultural
value of coral reefs and associated ecosystems
- Improve understanding of the critical threats to coral reefs and generate
both practical and innovative solutions to reduce these threats
- Generate urgent action at all levels to develop and implement effective
management strategies for conservation and sustainable use of these ecosystems.
Celebrate IYOR 2008 by planning a Reef Check activity: conduct a survey,
join a Reef Check team, collect data using the Reef Check Indo-Pacific or Caribbean Underwater Guide, hold a Reef Check membership drive, or
have people sign the International Declaration of Reef Rights. There are
many ways you can get involved with Reef Check and show your support
for coral reefs!
Please visit www.iyor.org for more information on IYOR 2008.
|Support Reef Check
|Pacific Underwater Guide with Slate & Pencil
Looking to make the most of your diving and snorkeling
experience? Then take the Reef Check Underwater guide
with you. More than just a standard fish ID sheet, the RC
Underwater Field guide has photos and key facts on over 50
different reef species, allowing you to fully explore and understand
life on the world’s coral reefs. It’s like taking a marine biologist with
you on every dive. There is also a slate and pencil so you can record what you
see and contribute valuable data on the health of the world’s coral reefs. Order
yours today. Your diving will never be the same.
|Reef Check Membership
A tax deductible gift of $25 or more entitles you to all the benefits of a Reef
Check Membership: The Transect Line, RC sticker, RC Annual Report,
and Invitations to trainings & special events
Sign up for a $50 membership & receive a free t-shirt or hat!