Submitted by Harold Cambert
The International Year of the Reef 2008 was a great opportunity to develop the Reef Check network on Réunion Island.
During IYOR 2008, Reef Check Réunion doubled its number of survey sites from 5 to 10. With the partnership of the Quiksilver Foundation, Reef Check Réunion continued monitoring the barrier reefs of l’Hermitage, Saint Leu and Etang Salé for the fifth consecutive year.
Also, an Ecosurf Festival was organized with the Saint Leu Surf Club, the first surf competition to be run entirely with renewable energies and with a real waste management plan. Reef Check Réunion was a partner of the event. A new partnership with the Crédit Agricole Réunion helped develop valuable communication tools: the French website http://reefcheck.fr and a stand designed to raise awareness with posters, streamers, etc. Three new sites on Saint Gilles reef were also created with their help.
Reef Check Réunion will continue its expansion in 2009. Reef Check Réunion expects to add ten new sites with the help of the local authorities in Saint Paul and Saint Leu, which are engaged in a Blue Flag process. Reef Check Réunion is also planning to open up to the younger public by training a team of secondary school students in the Saint Leu lagoon. Workshops on coral reef preservation will also be organized in 2009 in partnership with the World Ocean Network.