June 30, 2010

First Solomon Islands EcoDiver Training Workshop Held

Submitted by Gillian Goby of TDA

The first Solomon Islands EcoDiver training workshop was held in May. The organizers, Gillian Goby, Tony Soapi and John Paranga of the Solomon Islands’ Tetepare Descendants Association (TDA) trained 16 participants with varying Reef Check and monitoring experience.

With kind donations from Reef Check, Australian Volunteers International and the WWF, participants gained valuable training and further understanding of conducting surveys and marine monitoring. In attendance were four current TDA marine monitors, four further untrained monitors, community members, tour guides, rangers and the Tetepare Conservation Manager.

The workshop began with a classroom session, followed by in-water practice in Tetepare Lagoon, a calm and protected area ideal for learning. All participants finished the workshop with a greater understanding of the marine environment around Tetepare and eight of them were formally certified as Reef Check EcoDivers.

Going forward, TDA will be a valuable resource for reef monitoring, having benefitted from this workshop which has increased the quality and accuracy of monitoring and collecting data. In addition, it has also trained other community members, giving them the opportunity to join up with the marine monitoring program. Tsunami damage monitoring and targeted fish surveys are also being added to TDA’s program.

For more information on Reef Check Solomon Islands, please contact Gillian Goby