Reef Check Jan 2000 Update Full Text

Gregor Hodgson gregorh at
Mon Feb 7 15:40:14 EST 2000

By request:
1. Reef Check wins prestigious environmental award
On 15 January, in Tunis, Reef Check was awarded the prestigious GPIEM
Global International Marine Environmental Award (2nd Lauriate). This
award is given every two years by the Confederation Mondiale Des
Activites Subaquatique (CMAS and known in English as the World
Underwater Federation). CMAS is the largest dive organization in the
world and has dozens of national federation members in all areas where
divers are found. To be recognized in this way by CMAS is the highest
recognition that the diving community can give to Reef Check. This is
acknowledgement of the hard work and sacrifices by all participants over
the past three years.
On hand to receive the award on behalf of all Reef Check participants
were Reef Check Coordinator Gregor Hodgson and Thai Coordinator Anne
Miller. The award was presented by his Excellency, Tunisian President
Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, and CMAS President, Achille Ferrero, in the
ornate presidential palace at Carthage.  The hospitality shown by the
Tunisians and CMAS was outstanding, and we thank the jury and CMAS
committee for organizing such an amazing ceremony. For more info about
CMAS and their scientific certification see
2. Join "Dive In to Earth Day" April 12-22, 2000
CORAL, Reef Check and Earth Day Network have joined forces to promote
Earth Day 2000 the 30th Anniversary, by co-sponsoring a week-long "Dive
In." The objective of the Dive In for Earth Day is simply to raise
public awareness of marine environmental issues. For Reef Checkers, this
is a great excuse to arrange training, PR or survey activities during
this week. Lets try and raise the noise level and put pressure on
governments to take notice of coral reefs!
Once you have decided to get involved, please inform RC HQ at
<reefchck at> and post your activity on the Earth Day website For further info on whether there is already a
Dive In activity in your area, contact Anita Daley <divein at> at
3. Reef Check Foundation established in Hong Kong
Reef Check Foundation is a registered non-profit charity in Hong Kong.
This allows Reef Check to accept tax exempt donations in Hong Kong and
to manage grants.
4. Support News: Quiksilver, Leonardo DiCaprio, ICRAN(WRI, ICLARM)
Quiksilver is supporting Reef Check so we hope that you will support
Quiksilver. After some dry-dock time for refitting and repairs to the
intrepid Indies Trader, the amazing surf/Reef Check expedition called
"The Crossing" has continued on its way to seek out new surf and remote
reefs to be surveyed. Quiksilver has become the first corporate donor to
the RC Foundation. A possible 10-part TV series is under negotiation.
The actor, Leonardo DiCaprio has volunteered to be the Chairperson for
Earth Day 2000. In late November, Earth Day Founder Denis Hayes, Natural
Resources Defense Council CEO John Adams, and Reef Check Coordinator
Gregor Hodgson contributed to an Earth Day Special Yahoo chat session
chaired by Leonardo in Hollywood. The session broke all records for
participation. Leonardo, who has featured Reef Check on his personal
website ( since last May (following an intro to
RC in Thailand by Anne Miller), talked with his fans about clean energy,
global warming and how this is tied in with threats to coral reefs.
After the live session, questions put to his fans indicated that they
were extremely pleased that he is supporting coral reef conservation.
Leonardo is promising to get in the water with another RC team in the
near future.
We are pleased to announce that Reef Check and WRI are collaborating
with ICLARM and other partners in the production of the first Regional
Reefs at Risk report -- on Asia. The RC database will perform an
important role of this collaboration. We thank Lauretta Burke (WRI) for
suggesting this idea and pushing it through.
5. Help and Win Raffle Launched
The Help and Win raffle in benefit of Reef Check was officially launched
in December and it will run through April 2000. Win a house and US$150K
at Thanks to John Williams for coming up with this
unique idea to support charities.
6. RC Transfer and Intl Press Conference Plan
The 1999 Reef Check was very successful with major growth in numbers of
reef sites surveyed and many new countries joining in. The Intl Press
Conference to announce the 1999 results has been moved to March 2000 in
anticipation of Reef Check HQ moving to the US and reaching agreement
with Natural Resources Defense Council to act as co-host. The paperwork
is presently being drawn up by NRDC's attorneys, and we await the
official agreement before we announce the date of the Press Con. We
thank NRDC CEO John Adams and independent advisor Jeff Sachs for
suggesting this collaboration. In the meantime,  we encourage all
national RC Coordinators to proceed with their own National Press
Conferences when desired.
7. 1997-98 Database release
It has become apparent that there is now a mad rush to compile reports
on coral reef status for many different programs, projects and reasons.
One of the major reasons is to compile the GCRMN/RC Status of the
World's Reefs Report for the Bali ICRS Symposium. Rather than respond to
each request individually, RC has decided to release the RC database for
1997 and 1998 to researchers by posting it on the NOAA CHAMP website at The database is in Microsoft
Access. An explanatory companion PDF file is also found there that can
be downloaded using Adobe Acrobat. We thank the CHAMP himself, NOAA's
Jim Hendee and webmaster Monika Gurnee for their help in setting this up
while our new RC website is under construction. The condition for the
use of the data is that it be properly cited. The database citation is
included in the PDF file. If you make extensive use of country data,
please cite the teams who collected it.
8. Reef World/Reef Check Collaboration
The Reef World program is an evolving series of educational packages
designed to lead newcomers (non-divers, tourists, children, villagers)
into coral reef ecology. It has been successfully tested this year in
Thailand and works well. The ultimate objective is to lure more people
to support and participate in community-based management and Reef Check.
Revenue from the sales of Reef World training will go towards supporting
Reef Check training and surveys. This is the type of market-based
self-financing mechanism that can support RC activities in the long
term. Therefore RC will be promoting Reef World activities in the
future. For more info see: Anne hopes to develop a
Caribbean RW soon.
9. Selected Country reports
USA:  The US government has finally recognized the importance of coral
reefs in America. The US Coral Reef Task Force (CRTF) has developed an
Action Plan that formally recognizes the role of Reef Check and GCRMN.
The US Congress has approved some funds for coral reef activities.
Hopefully some of those will trickle down to Reef Check teams in the US.
Several grant sources are available for US teams. Please contact us if
you need help.
Hawaii: There has been a lot of activity in Hawaii over the past few
months since the cards were laid on the table and common sense
prevailed. Reef Check Hawaii coordinator Dave Raney, ably supported by
Robin Newbold on Maui, Jim Maragos, Rick Grigg on Oahu, Sara Peck on the
Big Island among others, was buoyed by a massive outpouring of support
from all sides (NGOs, government, academics, and the public). Dave will
be representing RC at an upcoming NOAA workshop Feb 9-11 to develop a
national program to assess and monitor coral reefs (about time!). We are
confident that they too will recognize the cost-effectiveness and
scientific value of involving communities in coral reef monitoring and
management through Reef Check.
SPREP Region: We thank James Aston for doing a tremendous job leading
GCRMN/RC activities in the islands and wish him luck back in Australia.
Accomplishments for 1999 include:
? funding for a GCRMN/RC node in Micronesia starting in 2000. Proposals
for Melanesia, Polynesia and outliers in progress.
? RC workshop held in French Polynesia. RC will become a standard
component of our MPA establishment training workshops. Yannick
Chancellor (a fish!) from CRIOBE in French Polynesia node provided the
training it was very successful.
Philippines: Congrats to Philippines Coordinator Laurie Raymundo for
completing her degree at Cornell! Now she is back in the RC saddle at
Silliman. Thanks also to Alan White, Mike Ross, Kitty Courtney and Andre
U for providing great datasets from their respective surveys this year.
Australia: Andy Dunstan, our intrepid RC Coordinator E. Australia has
outdone himself this year with some incredible video (based on the frame
grabs) of large sharks, mantas, and grouper spotted during his RC
surveys of the GBR. Anyone heading up to Port Douglas should stop in and
ask for a look and ask him which reef has up to 11 large grouper per
New Team of Top Enders!! For all you NT residents, a new Reef Check team
is setting up in Darwin. Contact Patrick O'Leary Marine and Coastal
Community Network NT Ph: 08 89815433 Mob: 0419 119 294 Fax: 08 89410387
Email: mccnnt at
Kate Osborne of AIMS is working hard to complete a CD-ROM that will
include RC methods, photos and even video
Mauritius: Thanks to Helge Vogt for his report on surveys of 6 sites in
Mauritius and Rodrigues. "These data are a result of a true team effort
involving volunteers from the Mauritius Scuba Dive organisation and
various Mauritian scientific organisations. The fieldwork was organised
by the Shoals of Capricorn Project administered by the Royal
Geographical Society. We are very pleased with the ReefCheck experience
which brought together scientists and recreational SCUBA divers as well
as representatives from the NGO scene. We would like to organise further
ReefCheck surveys in the years to come."

Saudi Arabia: About 40 sites were surveyed by Lyndon Devantier -- if
only he could convince the government to release the data

Japan: A big thanks to Mariko Abe and Mr Saeki Nobuo who are stepping
aside as coordinators leaving two new coordinators in her place in both
Okinawa and Tokyo. A great year of survey work and good luck on the
upcoming Press Con! New Japanese coordinators are:
Yasuaki Miyamoto <miyamoto at>
Nobuo Watanabe <nobuo.watanabe at>

Indonesia: The Indonesian Reef Check Coordinator Ketut Sarjana Putra did
a magnificent job this year, supported by scientific advisor Jan Steffen
and others, and I hope that his work serves as a model for other RC
Coordinators. The complete RC included the following components:
? organising training of trainers
? carrying out surveys
? preparing a national report on the results
? holding a national press conference to announce the results
? submitting the results as a written report in the local language to
the relevant government departments
? supplying the data to RC headquarters for input to the global
In October 2000, at the Bali ICRS, there will be a post-symposium
RC/GCRMN Workshop where you can meet Ketut and find out how he did this.
Reef Check 1999 featured the Training of Trainers (TOT) Program in Bali
from 22-24 July 1999 and involved 31 participants (selected divers) from
all over Indonesia.  Eight (8) participants are student/ lecturers from
Wacana), seven (7) from government officials (Bappeda Riau, Manokwari,
Teluk Cendrawasih National Park, Takabonerate National Park, Dept. of
Fishery Kupang, Dept of Tourism Ngada, KSDA Riung) and sixteen (16) from
NGOs.  The TOT participants conducted the Reef Check activities at eight
sites supported by 134 voluntary divers (Kepulauan Seribu Teluk Jakarta,
Lampung, Pelabuhan Ratu, Karimun Jawa, Riung, Riau, Makasar, and Bali).
The results show that coral reefs are in poor condition at 47.2% of the
stations, in moderate condition at 47.2%, and the good condition is
found at 5.6% of the 33 reef check stations.  The most interesting
figure is that the coral intactness value (Death Coral less than 15%) is
high in many sites located in Bali, Takabonerate South Sulawesi and
Riung Nusa Tenggara, while it is quite low in sites located in Lampung,
KarimunJawa National Park, and Kepulauan Seribu National Park.   Coral
reef - associated fish and other biological indictors are very hard to
find.  Reef fish from family Chaetodontidae are low in number, while the
“targeted fish” like Napoleon wrasse, giant grouper, lobsters, and
Triton are found in low number and at few sites, and their size is
mostly small.  Major threats identified are destructive fishing methods
(cyanide and blasting), anchoring and sedimentation due to coastal
development.  Bleaching was also found at some sites in Bali (Menjangan
island, Amed, Toya Pakeh), Karimunjawa and Pulau Seribu. The full report
is available in Bahasa from Ketut, Deputy Director of Wallacea
Bioregional Program, WWF Indonesia. <KPutra at>

For photos see:

Gregor Hodgson, PhD
Coordinator, Reef Check Global Survey Program
GPO Box 12375, Hong Kong
Tel: (852) 2802-6937
Fax: (852) 2887-5454
Email: gregorh at

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