Submitted by Reef Check Dominican Republic
The achievements of Reef Check Dominican Republic (RCDR) during 2009 are as numerous as they are diverse. The Caribbean team started the year by adding new talent – including volunteers and friends – to their Board of Directors.
Much progress was also made in La Caleta marine reserve, which RCDR currently manages. The Inter-American Foundation visited with RCDR to exchange ideas on the management of the reserve and to discuss future plans. Throughout the year, fishers, tourism outfitters, and volunteers gathered to maintain the buoys inside the reserve. Monitoring of La Caleta during 2009 was supported by the American Chamber of Commerce, and was conducted by RCDR, community members and recreational divers.
In addition, an important local achievement was the completion of a workshop on buoy installation conducted in Punta Rusia. In April, RCDR signed an agreement with the government agency DINAPES (Dirección Nacional de Pesca de la Marina de Guerra) to collaborate on efforts to reach out to coastal communities, and to conserve marine resources through workshops, trainings and field activities. RCDR also collaborated with World Resources Institute investigators, who interviewed users of the La Caleta reserve as part of a project to assess the economic value of the country’s marine ecosystems.
RCDR also conducted educational trainings for dive shops, and organized several camps for children in which they snorkeled and experienced the marine environment firsthand. Snorkeling gear was generously donated by Body Glove.
Other accomplishments included the monitoring of reef health at Bayahibe as part of the Blue Flag program. Also, a proud group of youngsters from Punta Rusia won third place in Reef Check’s Year of the Reef International Singing Contest; this was made possible with the support of RCDR volunteer Alicia Srinivas.