February 28, 2017

Historic Community Based Reef Survey a First in Oman

Submitted by Biosphere Expeditions

For the first time in the history of the Sultanate of Oman, a community-based coral reef survey has been undertaken. Seven Omani nationals and residents gathered at Seeb port this past January 29 and 30 to survey Fahal Island and Ras al Hamar, near Muscat. All had been trained previously in the Reef Check methodology by the award-winning, international conservation organization Biosphere Expeditions. Biosphere Expeditions runs a successful annual reef survey in Musandam, which has already resulted in reef conservation measures being introduced there. Biosphere also train local divers in Reef Check methods as part of their scholarship program.

Jenan Alasfoor, an Omani Reef Check graduate, participated in the inaugural community survey group and said: \”I am grateful to Biosphere Expeditions for empowering Omanis to survey our own reefs. I am very proud to be part of this first-ever Omani Reef Check team and I hope more people will come and join us.\”

Dr. Matthias Hammer, founder and executive director of Biosphere Expeditions, also took part in the survey and adds: \”I would not have wanted to miss this historic event. We have trained Omanis over the last few years in Musandam, and I am delighted to see our placement graduates now taking things into their own hands and surveying the reefs near Muscat, too. This is exactly what we need:  local people surveying their own reefs so that the natural beauty of Oman can be better managed and passed down to the next generation, as well as safeguarding livelihoods and traditions, including fishermen.\”

The results of the survey were reported in the local news: http://www.muscatdaily.com/Archive/Oman/Musandam-corals-healthy-but-problems-remain-shows-survey-4yiy