Kapal Selam and Reef Check… A Promising Partnership

March 24, 2006
Two great gals from Reef Check Indonesia came to see us at Kapal Selam HQ the other day, Pariama and Naneng. They are really dedicated activists and we got to talking about how Kapal Selam can participate in their activities (you know I have been eager to get the club involved in environmental and conservation efforts for a while now). First, let me tell you a little bit about the organization. Reef Check was founded in 1996 in California. It is an international program that works with communities, governments and businesses to scientifically monitor, restore and maintain coral reef health. Reef Check’s objectives are to: educate the public about the coral reef crisis; to create a global network of volunteer teams trained in Reef Check’s scientific methods who regularly monitor and report on reef health; to facilitate collaboration that produces ecologically sound and economically sustainable solutions; and to stimulate local community action to protect remaining pristine reefs and rehabilitate damaged reefs worldwide. In 1997, Reef Check conducted the first-ever global survey of coral reef health that provided scientific confirmation that our reefs are in crisis due to over-fishing, illegal fishing, and pollution. Since then, Reef Check’s fast-growing network has expanded to over 82 countries, and has played a major role in efforts to preserve and sustain reef ecosystems. Reef Check teams work with business sectors such as tourism, diving, surfing and the marine aquarium trade, to develop mutually beneficial solutions including the creation of self-funding Marine Protected Areas. Now- how can Kapal Selam get involved? Sign us up, right! Pariama, Naneng and I discussed a number of ways that Kapal Selam can participate in their efforts. They boil down to this:
  1. Participate in the Earth Day activities they have planned for 22 and 23 April, 2006
  2. Donate underwater photos to an exhibit and auction they are hosting for Ocean Day (June 14, 2006)
  3. Train KSDC members to conduct reef checks and incorporate reef checks in our dive trips (especially trips to locations it is difficult for Reef Check to survey)
I will send you additional bulletins on items 1 and 3, but for now let’s discuss number 2. Reef Check Indonesia is sponsoring a number of events to mark Ocean Day on the 14th of June 2006. One of these is a week-long Underwater Photo Exhibition to be held at the Discovery Shopping Mall. Reef Check needs the help of our underwater photographers. I hope that all of you will look through your photography archives and find your best shots to donate to this worthy cause. There will be winners in every category of photos, Reef Check is still working out the details, but at minimum there will be three categories (Macro, Wide Angle, and Black & White). The photos displayed at the exhibit will be auctioned off at Reef Check’s Gala Dinner and Auction to raise funds for Reef Check’s coral conservation activities in Indonesia. This is a perfect venue to share our photos with a broader audience and to help a worthy cause all at the same time. Winning photos might be used in Reef Check promotional materials. At last, some of you have the chance to be “published” photographers. If you are interested in helping out, please contact me directly at my email address (you know it, right?) I will keep you all posted on the progress of this effort as details unfold.