Submitted by Julian Hyde, Reef Check Malaysia
The 4th Asia Pacific Coral Reef Symposium was recently held in Cebu, Philippines, with a theme of “Working together amidst contemporary challenges”. And there are certainly plenty of challenges for coral reefs to contend with – not to mention linked ecosystems such as mangroves and sea grass meadows, all of which provide important habitat for a huge proportion of marine life. The event saw presentations ranging from Cnidarian phylogeny, through comparisons of reef monitoring methodologies, to barriers to raising funds for coral reef conservation- a real meeting of the minds of scientists and managers.
|Reef Check Philippines' Vanessa Vergara|
Reef Check (RC) in the Asia region was well represented at the event. Two of the Philippines’ most distinguished marine scientists, Dr. Al Licuanan and Dr. Perry Alino, are part of the RC Philippines network; some consider them to be the founding fathers of marine conservation in the Philippines. We also were introduced to the new coordinator in the Philippines, Vanessa Vergara, who is already making significant strides in fundraising for training and survey programs. Also represented were Taiwan, Japan, China, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia.
A meeting of RC coordinators was held on the third day of the symposium. A number of ideas emerged about how the diving market is changing and what opportunities – and challenges – lie before us. Included in the discussion were: the need to update training materials; demand for online provision of some training-related services; and an opportunity to promote the Discover Reef Check experience.
|Prof Perry Alino||RC Taiwan Coordinator Ling||Julian Hyde, RC Malaysia General Manager|
|Reef Check Dinner||Reef Check Founder Dr. Gregor Hodgson & Prof Edgardo Gomez||Vani and Tara at the APCRS Booth||Domingo Ochavillo, formerly of RC Philippines and current RC American Samoa Coordinator|