By Harold Cambert
As part of the World Ocean Day celebration on June 7th 2008, a conference was held at the aquarium of Saint Gilles, Réunion. The goals were to share information about the Reef Check Réunion program, explore why there is an urgent need to care about coral reef conservation, and discuss how conservation can benefit from the involvement of stakeholders in monitoring the status of reefs.
Volunteers from the “Bleu Marine” diving club, supported by Arvam and Aquarium teams, then surveyed a new site in the natural marine reserve, close to the popular seaside resort community of Saint Gilles. Located on the outer slope, the site is the ninth survey site of the Reef Check network in Réunion, a process which started in 2003.
Additional activities for IYOR 2008 included: the development of a website for French overseas territories; increasing the number of sites under the Blue Flag ecolabel promoted by local collectivities; involvement of private partners such as surf companies (Quiksilver Foundation) and banks (Crédit Agricole); and interoperability between Reef Check protocols and the CoReMo data entry system developed by Arvam in partnership with Reef Base and World Fish Center.