The Transect Line – December 2007
Happy Holidays, Both Above and Below the Sea ~ Best Wishes from RC Headquarters

Give the Gift of Reef Check
Your contributions have helped our teams work towards realizing our goals of research, education and conservation in over 90 countries and territories. If you would like to help our teams carry on this fight to save reefs for the International Year of the Reef 2008, please send your tax deductible donation to Reef Check. A donation of $25 is enough to cover the cost of one day outrigger boat rental for a survey team in a country such as the Philippines, or printing of underwater slates for California teams. Any donation of $50 and above will receive a free Reef Check hat or t-shirt.

The Year in Review
2007 has been an event-packed year for Reef Check and another banner year in data collection with teams around the world sending in their reports. We are currently in the process of analyzing the data RC teams have collected during the past 10 years. Thousands of transects and tens of thousands of individual organisms have been recorded in 90 countries and territories.
Reef Check California

Reef Check California has gone statewide! In just two short years since our inception, we have realized our goal of a statewide volunteer subtidal monitoring network. Fueled by a diverse support system, 180 RCCA certified divers completed 59 surveys to collect critical ecosystem data at 48 sites from Mendocino County to San Diego, more than doubling the survey effort from 2006.

EcoAction Program
Following a successful start at the end of 2006, Reef Check’s EcoAction program has continued to grow at a rapid pace throughout the year. Building on the newly incorporated coral reef monitoring training programs, we have expanded the breadth of the program to include nearly twice as many countries as in 2006.


Is a sustainable marine aquarium trade possible?

As a marine conservation organization, Reef Check would like governments to protect as much of the ocean as possible from development. The reality is that the oceans have long been used for commerce, such as shipping, mining, oil extraction and of course fishing. All forms of development and commercial use have potential negative impacts on the environment. Marine fisheries remove organisms from the ecosystem and when overfished, the ecosystem can be badly damaged. Therefore, many conservation organizations have favored a ban on the importation of wild-caught coral reef fish and invertebrates (including corals) for the marine aquarium trade. In contrast, since 1999, Reef Check has been working to determine if it could be possible to create a sustainable trade for two reasons.

Reef Check Teams in Action
Reef Check Malaysia

Reef Check has had active teams in Malaysia since 1997. In 2001 a National Coordinator was first appointed. Since that time, the Coordinator has carried out a number of training and survey activities, but insufficient resources prevented the development of a comprehensive program. This all changed in September 2006 with the approval of a grant from the UK government’s Department of Environment, Food & Rural Affairs for a one year project to see Reef Check established as a sustainable organisation in Malaysia.

Reef Check Dominican Republic

Reef Check Dominican Republic (RCDR) has been busy this past year carrying out Reef Check’s three key components of research, education and conservation. RCDR Director Ruben Torres and his staff trained a total of 30 EcoDivers in using the Reef Check protocol to monitor reef health, allowing RCDR to implement a regular monitoring program at over 50 sites nationwide.

Reef Check Indonesia
The Reef Check Indonesia Foundation has two programs: Coastal Empowerment and the Tourism & Education Program. For the past 2 1/2 years, they have been working with many stakeholders to develop these programs.

Reef Check Thailand
During the year 2007, Reef Check Thailand was involved in several activities. In January, a Reef Check training course was conducted during the “Long – term coral reef monitoring along the Thai Andaman Coastline” workshop, with financial and logistical support provided by the CHARM project.

Reef Check Hawai`i

Reef Check Hawai`i has had a busy and productive year establishing our organization as an important and prominent reef steward and marine educator to communities throughout the Hawaiian islands.

Reef Check Australia
The 2007 survey season got off to a slow start due to bad weather conditions. The focus of this season was to map each Reef Check site as well as select new sites for monitoring under the support of the Marine and Tropical Sciences Research Facility and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. Volunteers completed 21 surveys and selected and mapped new sites in Cairns, Townsville and Airlie Beach.
Looking Ahead to 2008

International Year of the Reef 2008
The IYOR 2008 effort continues to move forward. We invite you to submit a short story about how coral reefs have affected your life. Your story will be posted on the Reef Check website and each month a chosen winner will receive a Reef Check t-shirt of their choice. Please send your stories to We also invite you to send us details on any events you have planned for IYOR.

Over 6500 ocean lovers from 120 countries have signed – have you?

Click here to sign the International Declaration of Reef Rights

Click here to find out what others around the world are saying about the International Declaration of Reef Rights

Reef Check Pulau Weh, Sumatra EcoExpedition – April 7-17, 2008
Reef Check will be leading a new EcoExpedition to the amazing island of Pulau Weh at the northern tip of Sumatra, Indonesia. Join Reef Check scientist Kim Obermeyer and local coral reef conservationists from Pulau Weh to survey and monitor coral reefs in this world-class Marine Protected Area.
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