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Reef Check Volunteers Arrive in the BVI

Monday, May 17, 2010. For the eighth consecutive year, a group of volunteer tourists from all over the world have returned to the British Virgin Islands to monitor reefs at Bronco Billy, George Dog; Spyglass Wall, Norman Island; and Pelican Island. This week, they charter two BVI sailboats, Serendipity captained by Trish Baily, and Sandcastle, captained by Rik Allen and mate Ann Gracie, all BVI Charter Yacht Society members.

Reef Check BVI scuba teams hit the water for four days with underwater pencils, tablets and cameras in hand. But that is just the tip of the iceberg. A core group of off-island guests give lots of prep time, as do local charter boat crew, owners and dive companies. For every hour counting fish, invertebrates and surveying coral there are countless hours of preparation, training and pre-survey work.

Photos courtesy of Nick Seth-Smith.

Reef Check BVI hopes to expand the number of sites as long as they can keep high standards on existing sites. Each site has two survey strips, one at three meters deep and another at ten meters deep. They are 100 meters long, four meters wide and each centimeter is surveyed. Ecotourism is rapidly growing as travelers choose to make a difference with their vacation time and money.
Coral reefs around the world are in crisis due to climate change, overfishing and sediment runoff, and ecotourists volunteer their time and money to do their part assisting in the monitoring of these reefs, providing valuable, public data which is included in Reef Check International’s reports.

 

In addition to surveying the reefs, the team will discuss how to address issues brought to light after Dr. Gregor Hodgson, founder of Reef Check International, visited the BVI last month.

Reef Check BVI functions under the umbrella of the Association of Reef Keepers (ARK). Trish Baily, charter captain, aided by biologist (and past charter captain) Clive Petrovic, has led local and visiting diver volunteers through years of dedicated work. For more information on Reef Check BVI, email reefcheckbvi@gmail.com.

 

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