Reef Check Update - June 1997

HODGSON GREGOR reefchck at
Wed Jun 4 23:21:26 EDT 1997

Reef Check Update - June 1997

********** News from Reef Check Headquarters at HKUST **********

This is it!! Reef Check 1997 begins this month! If you have registered
for Reef Check, you will be part of one of the most ambitious synoptic
ecological surveys attempted. Field work for this exciting volunteer
IYOR activity officially begins on 14 June - United Nations Ocean Day -
and will finish up on 31 August. We have recently plotted the global
coverage of Reef Check and it is something that all participants should
be proud of. We will shortly post this map on the web.

The Web site ( /~webrc/reef.html) is constantly being
updated so please have a look. New pages have been added regarding 
data collection and analysis. The automated Excel data reporting files 
have been e-mailed to all participants, as well as being made available 
on FTP. 

We have been fortunate to secure the assistance of Ms Penny Quaile, a
university student from the UK, who is volunteering as a summer intern
as part of her first-year project, and Mr Chan King Tai from Chinese
University will soon be joining us as Assistant Data Analyst.

We sent out our first press release this week. Reef Check has already
received good coverage by the print media around the world. Reef 
Check will be get a short blip on CNN International on the new 
breakfast show on Friday 6 June and will be covered by CNBC the 
international NBC unit on 13 June. We thank you for your help in 
moving towards our goal of raising public awareness about the value 
of coral reefs and threats to their health.

Please note that the Reef Check International Press Conference has been
moved to Thursday 16 October to provide sufficient time for analysis of
results from the larger than expected number of teams. Final results
will also be sent to all teams at the same time for further dissemination.

A summary of national and regional activities is given below:

****** ERITREA ******
We are awaiting government approval to carry out REEF CHECK in 
Eritrea, southern Red Sea and to also organize a coral reef conservation 
and public awareness workshop. There has never been a coral reef 
workshop and along with my colleagues and ex-students, we will organize 
the workshop to also launch IYOR. REEF CHECK will give us impetus 
to develop a regular reef monitoring program. 
Amanuel Melles <aa608 at> Fax: (416) 269-0438

****** GERMANY/RED SEA ******
Michael Eisinger, from the University of Essen in Germany will be
assessing the reefs in Taba and Safaga in Egypt as part of the Red Sea 
Reef Check Surveys. He can be contacted at: 
<michael.eisinger at>  Fax: 49 (0) 201 183-2529

Slide sets have been prepared for ReefCheck Egypt, which consist of 36
slides in total, all bilingual german/english. These slides describe the 
IYOR general concept (key phrases from IYOR goals, etc.), ReefCheck 
concept, design, etc. and target fishes and invertebrates within the 
Indo-Pacific (with emphasis on Red Sea species).

Prints of those files have been plastified and will be used for underwater 
identification during the ReefCheck. If anybody wants to use the files,
we can mail them as Microsoft PowerPoint documents or put them on the
ftp-server at Geomar. Georg Heiss <gheiss at>  

Moshira Hassan and Gert Woerheide have finished the planning of the 
Red Sea ReefCheck. The Egyptian authorities fully support IYOR and 
ReefCheck, and Moshira and Gert were successful in setting up a 
multinational team involving reef scientists from Germany, France, 
England, Scotland, Italy, Netherlands, and Australia. The main ReefCheck 
activities will be carried out around Sharm el Sheikh (Sinai Peninsula) 
and Hurghada (mainland Egypt) between June 16 and August. The 
scientists will change every two weeks and will be based at selected diving 
centers in Sharm and Hurghada. Shorter ReefChecks will be carried out 
around Taba (near the border to Israel, Sinai, 14 days) and Safaga (south 
of Hurghada, 4 weeks) in cooperation with selected diving centers. So the 
teams will be able to cover a long coastline and many different reef sites of 
the Red Sea in Egypt, reaching from Taba at the northern end of the Gulf 
of Aqaba down south to Safaga at the mainland.
Moshira Hassan <mhassan at>  Fax: 49 (431) 600-2941
Gert Woerheide <gwoerhe at>  Fax: 49 (551) 39-7996

****** ISRAEL ******
We are planning a survey for late July - early August, where we will
survey the southern portion of the Coral Garden Nature reserve, and make 
a comparative check of the areas in front of dive centers, as well as those 
further to the south. Our team is a small and dedicated group of divers; 
graduate students and PhD's at the University of Haifa's Marine Civilizations 
Department, and there is interest in achieving the goals of Reef Check, to 
further the global knowledge of coral reefs. We expect to see the damaging 
effects of scuba diving on the coral reefs, and hope to use this information 
to promote community environmental awareness and conservation. We are 
sharing the same wonderful sea conditions, and marine life as our Egyptian 
neighbors, and hope for some combined involvement which may enable us 
to make some cooperative surveys in the Sinai Peninsula as well. 
Joe Breman <jbreman at>  Fax: (972) 4 824-0391

****** HONG KONG ******
Seven sites will be surveyed in Hong Kong and the South China Sea as part 
of  Reef Check. An exciting expedition will be made to Pratas Reef, an 
offshore atoll. Several teams are involved, including students from HKUST 
and Chinese University, members from the YMCA and South China Dive 
Clubs, and the Hong Kong Marine Conservation Society.  
Marc Smith-Evans <marcse at>

****** SRI LANKA ******
We are keen to participate in the IYOR activities and Reef Check. We hope 
to conduct a survey on the east coast during the Reef Check period. This 
activity will be carried out by NARA (National Aquatic Resources Agency). 
The Marine Conservation Society of UK (MCS), IUCN (Sri Lanka office) 
and the Sri Lanka Sub-Aqua Club (SLSAC) will also participate. 

Activities planned include: surveys in the east coast, Hikkaduwa marine 
sanctuary, Bar reef marine Sanctuary, educational programmes for schools 
with IUCN support, and photo and art exhibition with IUCN support.
Arjan Rajasuriya <arjan at>  Fax: 94 1 52-2932

Hanalei Bay will be the first location in Hawaii for Reef Check, beginning 
worldwide on June 14. The sponsoring organization for Kaua`i s Save Our 
Seas and the Kaua`i Reef Check will be held in conjunction with the Clean 
Oceans `97 Conference, June 13-15 at the Princeville Hotel. The conference, 
featuring Bobby Kennedy Jr., senior attorney for the National Resources 
Defense Council, celebrates the International Year of the Reef, declared by 
the United Nations, Gov. Ben Cayetano and other leaders of countries and 

On Saturday, June 14, professional and recreational divers will ensure 
scientific quality of Kaua`i Reef Check in the nearshore waters of Hanalei 
Bay, fronting Princeville Hotel. This site was selected due to its dynamic 
situation - it is popular for snorkeling and is subject to the output of a 
nearby river. Its nearby waters are popular for surfing and boating and it 
is next to a beach used by a major hotel. Coordinators are Dr Alan 
Friedlander, a fisheries specialist, and Dr Cindy Hunter, a zoologist, both 
on staff with the University of Hawai`i. 

For more information on Reef Check, volunteering and participating in 
the Clean Oceans `97 Conference, call 1-800-767-4101. 
Carl Stepath <sos at>  Fax: (808) 826-7770

****** PANAMA ******
So far there are two local marine conservation groups involved in the 
Reef Check project, who have obtained a moderately large (30-60 people) 
group of interested people, most of whom dive. I am getting together a 
general public seminar in Spanish/English to put across the ideas, aims 
and methodology of  the project, which will take place in approximately 
two weeks, so we get preliminary press coverage and more support.  

Our major Reef Check location is the Panamanian Caribbean coast. We 
have three sites at Portobello that will be surveyed, and we may also 
survey the Panama Pacific coast. This trip will probably constitute groups 
going to remote locations in 4WD cars and working from the shore. 
Peter Collinson <collisop at>  Fax: (507) 228-0516

****** UNITED KINGDOM ******
Our main efforts have been to interest groups in conducting a Reef 
Check. At this stage we have teams surveying the Seychelles, the Red Sea,
Aqaba, Tanzania, Mozambique, Honduras and Indonesia. So far we have:
* organised an article to appear in Diver, the UK's most popular diving 
magazine, and they are also interested in publishing the Reef Check results
* distributed 100 flyers about Reef Check at the London International Dive 
Show in March 1997
* written to all UK reef scientists in an attempt to persuade them to 
incorporate Reef Check into their summer fieldwork 
* highlighted Reef Check at UK IYOR meetings and organized an article 
in the UK IYOR newsletter
* organized a Reef Check article in the CCC newsletter and placed details 
on the CCC website -
Alastair Harborne <ccc at>  
Fax: +44 (0)171 498-8447 / 622-6126 

Frontier Conservation will be undertaking activities in Tanzania 
(southern near Mtwara) and Mozambique (Quirimba Archipelago) and 
these will be coordinated by Mr Martin Guard and Dr Mark Whittington 
(respectively) in July.
Catharine Muir <enquiries at>  Fax: 171 613-2992

****** SOUTHWESTERN USA ******
During May and June I will be delivering presentations to major dive 
clubs in the Dallas/Ft. Worth/Denton/Waco metroplex. I expect to speak 
to about 300 divers total, and my primary goal is to flesh out the four 
teams I'm working with. My secondary goal is to begin laying the 
foundation for next year's recruiting effort.

I will be working with a production company called "Advanced Creative 
Productions" with the goal of covering Judy Lang's Reef Check in 
Akumal this year. I will continue work with the Journey's End Resort 
Reef Check conference and help them as they need. 
Shawn Brooks <sbrooks at>  Fax: (972) 680-7114

****** HONDURAS ******
The ReefCheck surveys that we plan to carry out will be part of an 
expedition based in Utila, one of the Bay Islands of Honduras. The 
expedition will commence in July and will finish in September. Expedition 
plans seem to be going well, we have raised a good portion of the funds, 
we have local collaboration and permission, the team is selected and the 
flights are booked - so all systems are go!  
James Guest <J.R.Guest at>  Fax: 44 (191) 222-7891

****** BARBADOS ******
The youth group of the Barbados Cultural Association of BC (BCABC) 
has planned a very exciting and innovative calendar of events for the next 
few months. We have a few educational activities planned for Vancouver, 
BC prior to our departure to Barbados August 14, 97 to work in 
partnership with the Caribbean Youth Environmental Network (CYEN) 
on Reef Check and a youth environment conference. Activities include:
* May 28 - "Discover Coral Reefs", slide presentation at the Vancouver 
Public Aquarium. Guest speaker, Dr. John Nightingale from the 
Vancouver Aquarium.
* June - Students will produce a 1 hour environmental radio program on 
CFRO, a community radio station. They will be learning to use the 
equipment, research the content  for the show and record it!
* June 8 - Oceans Day - coastal cleanup of one of Vancouver's beaches.
* July - A sleepover at the Vancouver Aquarium for students 9-16 years 
old. They will learn about various marine ecosystems around the world 
and prepare meals for the animals of the Aquarium and sleep next to 
the whales!
* August - Participation in Reef Check & youth conference - Barbados.
* September 17 - Workshop on environmental awareness - focusing on 
marine ecosystems.
* Balance of the year > - Students that participated in this program 
will design a short presentation to be taught to school age children and 
toddlers, based on marine awareness.
Caroline Belgrave <cbelgrav at>  Fax: (604) 298-0871

****** EASTERN USA ******
We have set up a schedule for the summer in the Florida Keys from 
June 7 to August 30 with one site each week. This involves Reef Check 
Instructors training, as well as training/dives at various reef sites with 
all volunteers, including West Point Cadets. Other dates and locations 
in the Keys will be added after we have volunteers trained. We will 
have a busy Reef Check season!  
Mary Enstrom <menstrom at>  

We have a group of volunteer divers (numbering 29) of whom 15 have 
ccompleted the first round of in water training in the survey technique 
(acting as reelmaster, photographer or videographer). We also have 4 
persons trained in data collection (three of whom are partly trained 
scientists) and fish spotting.

We plan a second round of training in the form of a Reef Identification 
course which will teach all the volunteers to identify dominant corals to 
species level and distinguish the various other benthic types accurately. 
This is planned for 30th June 1997. Depending on how much training 
is required in identification skills, we hope to begin surveying by mid 
July and to have completed by mid August. 
Kalli De Meyer <marinepark at>  Fax:(599) 7 8444

****** MALDIVES ******
Rosemarie Asang-Soergel (Ulm, Germany) was recently successful to 
convince the Maldive authorties about the goals of the IYOR and 
ReefCheck. She has got the permits now to carry out ReefCheck 
activities in the Maldives! ReefCheck Maldives is scheduled for the 
last two weeks of July. Rosemarie is right now seeking for funding, 
the negotiations are still running. At this stage the European 
ReefCheck Coordinators and Rosemarie Asang-Soergel are looking 
for scientists interested to act as groupleaders in the ReefCheck 
Maldives during the last two weeks of July. Interested scientists 
should contact Gert Woerheide <gwoerhe at> before June 14.

We are hoping to have 3 possibly 5 sites in Westen Australia: Rowley 
Shoals, Dampier Archipelago, Monte Bellos Islands, Ningaloo Reef 
and the Abrolhos Islands. Because of the logistical dificulties in getting 
to many of these areas details are yet to be finalised. We are hoping 
to get industry support as well as community involvement. 
Chris Simpson <chriss at>  

****** GUAM ******
Three orientation workshops were held on Guam during May. These 
were organized by the IYOR/ICRI committee, including the Guam 
Coastal Zone Mangement Program, the Division of Aquatic and 
Wildlife Resources, Guam Environmental Protection Agency and 
the University of Guam Marine Lab. Over 120 community members 
attended the sessions, which were designed to teach the methods we 
will be using for the surveys. Over 30 children between the ages of 
5 and 11 joined in. We will perform the surveys on June 14, and 
will split between 2 sites: one relatively pristine, the other heavily 
impacted by human disturbances. Surveys will be performed on the 
benthic community as well as selected fish, and we will also make 
measurements of water quality. A follow-up session for going over 
the data is scheduled for June 28. We expect about 150 particpants 
total.  Robert Richmond <richmond at>  

Reef Check surveys will be carried out during the period Aug 20-30 - 
a collaboration between the Marine Conservation Society UK and 
the Seychelles Underwater Centre. Plans are to look at sites around 
Mahe and possibly also Praslin. Our aim is to investigate 'true' coral 
reefs as well as coral communities associated with granitic outcrops, 
and to include both impacted and non-impacted reefs. 
Elizabeth Wood <ewood at>  Fax: 011 (89) 73-1832

We apologize for any omission of news about your site. Please send us 
your latest news for inclusion in the July Reef Check update. To join 
Reef Check, please contact your nearest National or Regional Coordinator 
or Reef Check Headquarters as soon as possible.

Suzie Geermans
Assistant Reef Check Coordinator
Institute for Environment and Sustainable Development
Research Centre, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
Clearwater Bay, Kowloon, HONG KONG
Ph: (852) 2358-6906
Fax: (852) 2358-1582
e-mail: reefchck at
Reef Check:

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