Moshira Hassan hassan at
Tue Feb 25 06:02:38 EST 1997

The German IYOR coordination team is planning a ReefCheck in Egypt.

We thank Gregor Hodgson for initiating this wonderful activity and hope
that by participating and sharing our experience in organizing ReefCheck we
can encourage and inspire others to do similar things in their regions.

Scientists have the possibility to conduct ReefCheck with the help of
recreational divers who are on vacation in the Red Sea. We have the unique
opportunity to use the diving and tourism industry to convey the message of
IYOR and ReefCheck to those who are usually not interested or active in
reef conservation. We are convinced that we can awaken enthusiasm and
sensibility in the divers and can thus have an important impact on the
behaviour of the single diver as well as on the tourism industry.

The following text is to inform you how we are organizing ReefCheck, how we
plan to conduct it and what endeavours we have undertaken to fund the

The following Egyptian authorities fully support IYOR and ReefCheck
provided the official routes are maintained and professionality is
1) "The Ministry of Scientific Research" and the
"National Institute of Oceanography and Fisheries" are in the process of
distributing information and obtaining necessary legal permissions
2) "Parliamentary Research Center" & "People's assembly of Egypt"
3) The Department of Marine Science of the Suez Canal University in Ismailia
4) The "Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency (EEAA)" and the
"Ras Mohammed National Park Authority"

5) HEPCA (Hurghada Environmental Protection and Conservation Association),
an official non governmental organization also supports IYOR and ReefCheck

IYOR was launched at the biggest European boating and diving show (368,000
visitors). ReefCheck was also advertised there, for more inf. please visit
our homepage at:

Scientists from Egypt, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, France and the
UK have shown interest in leading ReefCheck groups in Egypt. The list of
group leaders will be posted as soon as it is definite.

A) Groups travelling to Egypt to conduct ReefCheck (e.g. Professors with
their students) are welcome, provided they adhere to Egyptian authority's
rules and regulations. Please contact us, if you wish to conduct ReefCheck
in Egypt. We will help you with the official context.

B) Our main activities will be conducted through local diving centers, for
two reasons:
B1. This way we can use available logistics, such as diving boats and
equipment, accommodation, booking etc. (see below)
B2. The main reason though is that in Egypt a big percentage of the
environmental problems of coral reefs are due to tourism and related
activities. Incorporating the tourism industry into IYOR activities and
thus directly targeting those responsible for damage is essential.

The volunteers will be recruited from the "general diving tourists". Divers
should have at least a few years of diving experience and/or a minimum of
30 dives. Scientists will advertise among the divers, who are already
spending their holiday at the locations this summer.
We will also be advertising ReefCheck in diving magazines and hope that
some enthusiastic divers will book their next diving vacation at a

We will be concentrating on Sinai, Hurghada and Safaga and as far as we can
get from there.

ReefCheck is designed to be conducted on one day at each site, sometime
between June 14th and August 30th. Normally 2-3 weeks would be sufficient
to cover the intended regions. Nevertheless we have decided to be present
for the entire time. This means that some sites will be checked more than
once. The reason for this extended ReefCheck is that we can raise public
attention and reach more divers if we spend a longer time on the spot.

We will be mainly cooperating with two diving centers that have an
excellent international (and national) reputation. Specific permissions by
the Egyptian government will be issued for these dive centers. Both Diving
Centers operate 5-10 dive boats daily (approx. 10 divers a boat).
Furthermore they offer courses on marine ecology for divers in their normal
programme and are generally active in reef conservation:
SINAI DIVERS in Sharm el Sheikh, Sinai (contact Rolf Schmidt & Petra Roeglin)
Tel: + 20-62-600697 / Fax: +20-62-600158
email: sinai_divers at
JASMIN DIVING CENTER, in Hurghada (contact Monika Wiget)
Tel: +20-65-442442-9 / Fax: +20-65-442441 / Tel & Fax: +20-65-442455 or 547360

In addition a diving center from Safaga will also participate for a short
period. SHAMS SAFAGA, (contact Ayman Taher)
Tel: 0020-65-451782 to 87 / Fax:0020-65-451780

Further activites with the Ras Mohammed National Park are planned. We will
inform you as soon as things are more definite.

At least one scientist, who is capable of leading ReefCheck groups, will be
present at each center throughout the entire time. Each scientist will
spend 2 weeks at the facility.
The Scientists should be experts in the field of reef ecology, and have
sufficient experience with field work (see Gregor Hodgson's outlines).
The scientist will recruit volunteers from the present tourists with the
help of the diving centers. It is up to the groupleaders to generate
enthousiasm in the tourists, to ensure he (or she) has volonteers to do
Giving seminars and/or slide shows to the diving tourist, teaching the
basics of reef ecology, conveying the concept of IYOR and ReefCheck is one
way of catching the tourists attention and enthusiasm. I am sure we can
find a group of 5-8 divers (out of 100 guests of each diving center) who
would love to do ReefCheck for a week or so.
It will be the responsibility of the scientist to ensure the scientific
quality of the work and to teach the volunteers the methods.

The diving centers offer the entire logistics. The diving is free for the
group leader and possibly also for a second person. An experienced
divemaster will be present on the boat to ensure diving safety.
The centers will advertise ReefCheck on all their boats and possibly also
in diving magazines. They will take care of the reservations etc. of the
They will offer the facilities to give seminars and slide shows.
Probably one of the dive boats will be entirely designated to ReefCheck.
The diving centers have negotiated with hotels for free accommodation of
the scientist leading a ReefCheck group.

For general data processing, see Gregor Hodgson's outlines. Each diver
group will be responsible for processing its own data, and can certainly
use the data for their own use. The data will however also be submitted to
us for compilation. A copy of the data MUST be submitted to Egyptian
authorities and will be submitted to ReefCheck headquarters (Gregor
Hodgson, Hong Kong), with the permission to prepare a summary paper.

Gert Woerheide and myself (Moshira Hassan) will be in Egypt for the first
3-4 weeks, to get things running smoothly. For instance the boat crews and
dive masters will need to be adapted to a different kind of diving etc.

Several German radio programmes have already reported about IYOR and
ReefCheck during and after the 'boot'.
Several local Egyptian magazines and German diving magazines will be
continuously reporting about IYOR and ReefCheck.
Uli Erfurth will report on IYOR and ReefCheck in the ARD-Wunschbox on Feb. 11th
An Egyptian and a German and possibly a UK TV team will be in Egypt,
reporting about ReefCheck this summer.

Obviously funding of ReefCheck is a problem for most of us. The normal
"scientific channels" are not too generous up to now on this subject, as it
is not considered a "highly scientific" project but a big public awareness
The more renowned scientists advocate reef conservation and public
awareness and education the better the chances will be in future to obtain
funding from science foundations and others.

The logical consequence is to tap the diving industry. This is generally a
good move in regions where diving tourism is well developed, as there are
many potential sponsors.
You need to convince the facilities: i.e. diving centers, live aboards,
airlines, hotels etc. but also diving magazines, manufacturers of diving
equipment and even diving federations and associations who educate divers
and diving instructors.
The convincing arguments we have been using are the following (they are all
true, you need to drum it into the heads of some people though)
1) The main argument is a financial one:
It lies in the interest of the tourism industry to promote IYOR and the
conservation of reefs - because if there are no more healthy reefs there is
no more business.
2) The attitude of the "normal diver" has in fact changed over the last
decade. Divers are more aware of the environment and are interested in
learning about marine life. Diving centers must also adapt and act in a
more conscientious way, if they want to keep their clients.
3) Other facilities are already supporting IYOR actively, you don't want to
stand behind?
4) It is an honour to participate in activities of the IYOR.

1) The diving centers Sinai Divers, Jasmin Diving Center as well as Shams
Safaga (see inf. above) offer the use of their facilities free of charge to
the scientists to conduct ReefCheck
2) The Ghazala Hotel in Sharm el Sheikh, the Yasmin Diving Center in
Hurghada and Shams Safaga, in Safaga offer free accomodation and half board
for the groupleaders. In total that is 24 weeks of free for at least one
3) We are in touch with airlines for free flights of the group leaders. We
don't have any definite answers yet, but are hoping..
4) The volunteers get a certificate of participation printed on PAPYRUS.
This will be printed directly at Kyros Paschalis dive shop  and printing
press in Cairo
5) PASCHALIS will also produce stamps with the IYOR logo and ReefCheck so
that we can stamp the logbooks of the volunteers.
6) 300 underwater slates are sponsored by IQ company. Every participant can
keep his own slate. Of course we will have IYOR and ReefCheck printed on
the slates.
7) The reporters of 2 German diving magazines (Unterwasser, tauchen) are
marine biologists themselves and might lead a ReefCheck group. Or at least
participate as volunteers. So free propaganda is guaranteed.

Well, let us all hope things run smoothly and that ReefCheck becomes a big
success! We wish you luck with all your IYOR and ReefCheck activities.

If you wish to participate please contact Gert, he is responsible for the
coordination of the groupleaders.
Gert Woerheide
Erkelenzdamm 21;  10999 Berlin-Kreuzberg (Germany)
phone: +49-(0)30-615 26 69;  e-mail:  gwoerhe at

If you have general questions concerning the procedures with Egyptian
authorities, the facilities we are using or others please contact Moshira:
Moshira Hassan:
(until the end of March:)
CEREGE;  B.P. 80
F-13545 Aix-en-Provence cedex 4; France
TEL: (33) 4-42 23 48 21 / FAX: (33) 4-42971549 / email: mhassan at
permanent adress:
GEOMAR FZ; Wischhofstr. 1-3; 24148 Kiel; Germany
Tel: (49) 431-6002822  /  FAX:  (49) 431-6002941     email: mhassan at
See German activites at:

More information about the Coral-list-old mailing list