reefchck at uxmail.ust.hk
Mon Jun 2 00:49:25 EDT 1997
The following is a press release about Reef Check '97 from the Office of Public Affairs HKUST.
Media coverage world wide is an important part of the Reef Check project as it raises public awareness of the plight of coral reefs, and the importance of their sustainablity. If you would like further information about media coverage, or would like more
detailed information about the project for press releases in your own area please contact me <reefchck at uxmail.ust.hk> or Telephone (852) 2358-8568,
Fax (852) 2358-1582. Alternatively log on to our website homepage http://www.ust.hk/~webrc/reef.html. for the latest update on the project.
Reef Check Intern
29 May 1997
HKUST LAUNCHES FIRST GLOBAL REEF SURVEY
Scuba-diving students from the Hong Kong University of Science and
Technology are joining hundreds of divers around the world for Reef Check 1997,
the first global survey of coral reefs.
The world headquarters for Reef Check is located in the HKUST Research
Centre's Institute for Environment and Sustainable Development.
Between 14 June and 31 August, reef scientists will train and lead more
than 100 teams of volunteer divers from 35 countries to measure the health of
more than 300 coral reefs around the world. In Hong Kong, student teams from
Hong Kong and Chinese Universities will be diving alongside those from HKUST.
"Coral reefs are an important natural resource throughout the tropics,
but particularly in the South China Sea," says RC Director Prof Jay Chen. "We
must raise awareness of their value, and gather more accurate data on how they
function and respond to human activity."
HKUST's Institute for Environment and Sustainable Development will
analyze the data and report on the state of the world's reefs at a campus press
conference in mid-October.
"We have heard that many reefs believed to be in good shape actually
have been damaged by human impacts, such as dynamite and poison fishing," said
Dr Gregor Hodgson, the HKUST biologist leading the initiative. "However,
scientists do not have a clear picture of the health of the world's reefs."
Dr Hodgson first suggested the idea for a global survey on the
Internet. "Based on the massive response from serious scientists, I realized
that we should go for it." Now Reef Check 1997 is the most ambitious project
during the International Year of the Reef.
Over two hundred million years old, coral reefs have been called the
tropical rain forests of the ocean, housing over 25% of all marine species,
including some of the favorite delicacies of Chinese cuisine such as sea
cucumber, live fish and shellfish. Scientists are only beginning to uncover
their hidden secrets; some of the newest anti-cancer and AIDS-fighting drugs
have been derived from reef organisms.
Coral reefs are vital for the world's largest industry, tourism. Some
Island regions, such as Hawaii and Hainan Island,China, depend on reefs for tourism
dollars as well as for fishing. Sandy beaches are created and protected by
reefs. Without this protection, shorelines are washed away, a recent occurrence
at one beach-front resort in Hainan after the coral reef was removed.
More information about the Coral-list-old