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Introduction | Identification | Impacts | Causes | Actions | More Info
|The Reef Check Survey addresses several criteria that can identify whether diving, snorkeling, and reef-walking impacts are problems. These include: the number of divers and snorkelers that visit an area, and the number of recently broken or damaged coral. In addition to tourists, people seeking fish and invertebrates by hand for consumption (gleaners) will walk on shallow parts of reefs to harvest these animals. The amount of damage to corals in shallow reef areas will obviously be directly proportional to the number of tourists and/or gleaners who walk on the reef, unless these people take special care to minimize their impact.|
The questions in the box below will help to ensure that you have accurately identified diver and walker damage as an issue affecting local reefs.
Damaged coral in shallow water. Snorkelers often try to stand in shallow water on top of coral reefs, therefore a popular place to find fin scars or broken coral is in shallow water or areas of entry/exit for snorkelers from shore. Identifying broken coral in these areas may be an indication of either diving or reef gathering (also known as reef gleaning) activities.
Did you observe many fine, branching corals broken? Fine, branching corals like Acropora are easily damaged by being stepped on, kicked over, or intentionally broken. Diving and walking activities may likely be the cause of this damage.
Did you observe many overturned corals and rocks? Local or commercial fishing and gleaning activities may be identified by whether random corals and reef rocks have been overturned or moved. Corals and rocks are overturned by individuals harvesting animals like sea cucumbers that seek shelter beneath them.
Are there local reef gleaning and gathering activities? If people glean shallow reef surfaces, damaged and overturned coral is likely.
Is this a popular diving and snorkeling site for either tourists or locals? If divers and snorkelers frequent the area, ask dive shop operators and hotels where people go and whether they are aware of any damage to reef environments caused by the tourist activities.
|Dive boats line the shore of Giffun Island.
Location: Hurghada, Egypt
Photo by: M. Kochzius
(from ReefBase: http://www.reefbase.org)|