community-based monitoring

Gregor Hodgson gregorh at
Sun Mar 24 20:02:06 EST 2002


The Reef Check monitoring program was purpose-built to serve community-based
monitoring needs and is now active in over 50 countries and is a formal
partner with GCRMN/ICRI. It was designed so that it could be taught to
experienced skin or scuba divers with only a few hours of training, and yet
produce rigorous (i.e. publishable) scientific data on the impacts of humans
on coral reefs. The approach was to be "eco-holistic" and include a broad
spectrum of taxa but to limit the monitoring to key indicator organisms that
would tell us 90% of what a manager would need to know to take action. Last
week, in Palawan, Philippines, a colleague and I were able to teach an
experienced aquarium fish fishermen how to do Reef Check in less than 1
hour. The fishermen spoke little English and had not graduated from high
school, but he knew the taxonomy.

Your inquiry is timely as Reef Check has organized a NOAA-funded W. Pacific
Island regional training workshop during the first week of April 2002 in
Palau in cooperation with GCRMN/SPREP and PICRC.  Reef Check runs regular
regional training workshops throughout the world, with continuing programs
at our Regional Coral Reef Monitoring Training Center in Phuket, Thailand.
Other upcoming workshops include and St. Johns, USVI in early May followed
by Cebu, Philippines in last week of November 2002. Please contact our
Program Manager, Jennifer K. Liebeler [Liebeler at] for details.

More importantly, after five years of operation, Reef Check has now started
to demonstrate measurable benefits to coral reefs and their human neighbors.
That is, five years ago, we could only theorize that we expected
stakeholders to develop an increased desire for stewardship through active
engagement in monitoring the health of their local reefs. We now have
several good examples where, according to the park managers, participation
in Reef Check contributed to the initiation and/or operation of well managed
Marine Protected Areas. Two examples where Reef Check helped to lead to
success are:

1) Soufriere Marine Management Area in St. Lucia, Caribbean -- Kai Wulf
<wulf at>
2) Gilutongan MPA in Cebu, Philippines -- Mike Ross <mikeross at>

(As an aside, I would urge anyone who doesn't believe that coral reef MPAs
can work and benefit the surrounding areas to visit these MPAs.) Each of
these MPAs has a long history involving many individuals, NGOs, government
agencies etc., so Reef Check is only one small part of the picture. For
details of how Reef Check contributed, pls contact the park managers

Our five-year global report on coral reef health will be released later this
year. A non-profit Reef Check Foundation has been established to oversee our
education, monitoring and management activities and we welcome new members.
For more information about Reef Check please see the papers below and our
website (

Hodgson, G. 2001  Reef Check: The first step in community-based management.
Bull. Mar. Sci. 69(2): 861-868.
Hodgson, G. 2000. Coral Reef Monitoring and Management Using Reef Check.
Integrated Coastal Zone Management. 1(1): 169-176.
Hodgson, G. 1999. Reef Check Global Survey Program: The first step in
community-based management. In: I. Dight, R. Kenchington, J. Baldwin (eds).
Proc. International Tropical Marine Ecosystems Symposium, Townsville,
Australia, November 1999. pp 321-326.
Hodgson, G. 1999. A global assessment of human effects on coral reefs.
Marine Pollution Bulletin. 38 (5) 345-355.


Gregor Hodgson, PhD
Professor (Visiting); Director, Reef Check
Institute of Environment
1362 Hershey Hall Box 951496
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1496
Tel: 310-794-4985 Fax:310-825-0758

-----Original Message-----
From: owner-coral-list at
[mailto:owner-coral-list at]On Behalf Of Liz Matthews
Sent: Friday, March 22, 2002 5:37 PM
To: Coral-list
Subject: community-based monitoring

Dear Listers,

The Palau Conservation Society is developing a strategy to more closely
involve community members in the monitoring of marine conservation areas
- both as a means to monitor the fish, invertebrates, etc. in the
conservation areas as well as to create opportunities for local people
to see for themselves the benefits of conservation.  I would like to
hear from any of you who have experience with community-based monitoring
of coral reefs and marine resources.  What has worked?  What hasn't? Any
help is greatly appreciated.

Liz Matthews

><//>  ><//>  >>><<>><<<  <\\><  <\\><
Palau Conservation Society
Box 1811
Koror, Palau 96940

tel: 680.488.3993

lizmat at
emat2715 at

For directions on subscribing and unsubscribing to coral-list or the
digests, please visit, click on Popular on the
menu bar, then click on Coral-List Listserver.

For directions on subscribing and unsubscribing to coral-list or the
digests, please visit, click on Popular on the
menu bar, then click on Coral-List Listserver.

More information about the Coral-list-old mailing list