Reef Check

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Reef Check is an international non-profit organization devoted to the following goals and objectives:

  • Educate the public and governments about the value of coral reefs and rocky reef ecosystems and the crisis facing them.
  • Create a global network of volunteer teams, trained and led by scientists, that regularly monitor and report on reef health using a standard method.
  • Facilitate collaborative use of reef health information by community groups, governments, universities and businesses to design and implement ecologically sound and economically sustainable solutions.
  • Stimulate local action to protect remaining pristine reefs and rehabilitate damaged reefs worldwide especially through the creation of Marine Protected Areas.

About Reef Check

The Reef Check Foundation was founded in 1996 by marine ecologist, Dr. Greg Hodgson. The Foundation, based in Pacific Palisades, California is dedicated to research, education and conservation with respect to two ecosystems: tropical coral reefs and California rocky reefs. With headquarters in Los Angeles and volunteer teams in more than 90 countries and territories, Reef Check works to create partnerships among community volunteers, government agencies, businesses, universities and other non-profits. Reef Check goals are to: educate the public about the value of reef ecosystems and the current crisis affecting marine life; 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 coral reefs were in crisis due to over-fishing, illegal fishing, and pollution. The results, published in a scientific journal in 1999, shocked many marine biologists who had not realized the extent of human impacts on reefs. In August 2002, Reef Check released its first five-year report, The Global Coral Reef Crisis – Trends and Solutions, at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa. Based on data collected by thousands of Reef Check volunteer divers in over 82 countries and territories, the report was the first scientific documentation of the dramatic worldwide decline in coral reef health over a five year period. The report concluded that there was virtually no reef in the world that remained untouched by human impacts, such as over fishing, pollution and climate change. Yet the success stories discussed in the report show that, with proper monitoring, management and protection, coral reefs can recover. It is up to us.

Since then, Reef Check's fast-growing network has expanded throughout all tropical seas, and has played a major role in efforts to preserve and sustain reef ecosystems. Reef Check’s approach is to engage partners, especially businesses in a non-confrontational manner to develop mutually beneficial solutions especially the creation of self-funding Marine Protected Areas. In 2005, Reef Check launched its first temperate reef program in California.

Reef Check does have a Thai Chapter and has two active monitoring teams in Thailand as well as a national coordinator.

Reef Check has received international environmental awards for its work, and is the United Nations' official community-based reef monitoring program.

Reef Check carries out its work through three major programs:

  • 1. EcoAction Program – an education and certification program for kids to adults who want to learn more about the ocean and take part in protecting reef ecosystems.
  • 2. Coral Reef Management Program – a coral reef monitoring and management system that focuses on establishing Marine Protected Areas to conserve coral reefs while encouraging sustainable use of surrounding reefs by local residents.
  • 3. Reef Check California – a volunteer monitoring program for California rocky reefs designed to provide data for managers and to build a conservation constituency among California divers.

Reef Check at Racha Yai with Scuba Cat Diving

Friday 10th February saw four members of Scuba Cat Diving's Reef Check Team join our day trip dive to Racha Yai Island Phuket, Thailand. This is part of our ongoing commitment to Project Reef Check and its world wide long term study of coral reefs.

Our transect is located on the east side of the island and conditions in the morning were a little too choppy for the comfort and enjoyment of our day trip divers. Intrepid team members Jesper, Monthon, Mood and Mike were dropped off to fend for themselves as the others went around to the flat calm waters of the west side.


ith no other boats in sight conditions proved ideal for the check; bright sunny skies really did light up the reef. It is always such a joy to move slowly along and really have a close look at the underwater environment- the beauty and colors of the fish and corals goes beyond words. We are happy to report that our section of the reef is in excellent condition.

Predictably the breeze dropped and the sea flattened out around noon and we were rejoined with the day trip divers. Team members were rewarded by getting a dive in on Marla's Mystery, Scuba Cat Diving's artificial reef on the east side of Racha Yai Phuket, Thailand. While descending down to the wreck the presence of a large bait ball let us know right away we were in for a great dive. We weren’t disappointed!

After watching the action around the bait ball a look under the stern turned up a full size, meter long Brown Spotted Grouper that had dug itself a nice resting place. Back up on the deck for a survey of the young hard corals popping up all over and more pleasure at how quickly the fan is growing. Add to this the usual regulars of bat fish, lion fish, red toothed trigger fish and we are having fun. As we started our ascent two groups of Trevally's (giant and striped) arrived on the scene for a run at the bait ball and some sizzling action.

What a great day! To have so much fun and be able to clearly see how our efforts to help protect and save the underwater environment are really working, is something special.