October 31, 2018

Reef Check Members Convene at the First International Scuba Diving Sustainability Workshop

Participants in the first International Scuba Diving Sustainability Workshop, hosted by Reef Check Italy

By Dania Trespalacios, Reef Check Tropical Program Director

On October 19-21, Reef Check Italy hosted the first International Scuba Diving Sustainability Workshop in Genoa’s Galata Museum of the Sea. The workshop brought together members of the academic, marine management, education, and business communities to discuss the current state of scuba diving, the current and future role of citizen science divers, and the results of the European Green Bubbles project, which is exploring the environmental, economic and social dimensions of sustainable recreational diving.
During the Workshop, Dr. Carlo Cerrano and Dr. Massimo Ponti, President and Vice Presidents of RC Italy, each presented on the current state of RC Mediterranean, including the need for citizen science divers and how Reef Check data is used in management in the Mediterranean.

Dr. Carlo Cerrano (in dry suit on left), and Eliana Ferretti (sitting on the left) led the RC Med survey for workshop participants

Dania Trespalacios, RC Worldwide Tropical Program Director, and Julian Hyde, RC Malaysia General Manager, shared stories from the field where Reef Check data is used for management, and where Reef Check EcoDivers are engaged in marine conservation. Examples ranged from MPA management in the Dominican Republic and Lionfish Containment in Grenada to the use of Reef Check data by government management agencies in California, USA and Jamaica to management and conservation projects in Malaysia. Dr. Georg Heiss and Dr. Moshira Hassan, of RC Germany and RC Egypt, presented on the many lessons learned after 20 years, and the challenges that lay ahead for RC Egypt.

The Workshop included the opportunity to participate in a Reef Check Mediterranean protocol training and dive, led by Dr. Carlo Cerrano and RC Med Trainer Eliana Ferretti. During their dives at Portofino Marine Protected Area participants spotted beautiful gorgonians and a few red corals!

The Workshop was a great opportunity for members of the Reef Check family to connect, share ideas and experiences, and make progress on good work, including updating Reef Check training materials and standards. Although Mediterranean marine habitats are very different from tropical coral reefs, the two regions share the same challenges of maintaining a scientifically robust monitoring protocol, engaging citizen scientists in a meaningful way, and ultimately achieving marine conservation in the water.


Dr. Massimo Ponti, Vice-President of Reef Check Italia onlus Dr. Carlo Cerrano, President of Reef Check Italia onlus Dr. Moshira Hassan weighs in on the successes and challenges for RC Egypt and RC Germany
Dania Trespalacios and Julian Hyde share management and conservation success stories from the field From left to right, Dania Trespalacios, Julian Hyde, Sander den Haring, Moshira Hassan, and Georg Heiss discussing RC training methods and standards From left to right, Dr. Georg Heiss (RC Germany), Julian Hyde (RC Malaysia), Dr. Massimo Ponti, Dr Carlo Cerrano, Dr. Gianfranco Rossi (RC Italy), Amalia Cuadros (University of Murcia), Dania Trespalacios (RC Worldwide), and Dr. Lorenzo Bramanti (Laboratoire d'Ecogeochimie des Environnements Benthiques)
Trainer Eliana Ferretti teaches workshop participants the RC Med Protocol Workshop participants before their dive, including Dr. Moshira Hassan (RC Egypt), Eliana Ferretti and Dr. Carlo Cerrano (RC Italy), and Dania Trespalacios (RC Worldwide) Dr. Georg Heiss and Dr. Moshira Hassan point out a few of the species spotted on the dive at the Portofino Marine Protected area with a few of their fellow divers and workshop participants
Trainer Eliana Ferretti shows off her RC Mediterranean pride Dr. Georg Heiss and Dr Moshira Hassan