AFCD workshop: Hong Kong Reef Check: A programme to promote sustainable management of corals and science education

Wai-chuen NG, Chi-chiu CHEANG, Keith KEI, Kwok Ho TSOI, Wing-kuen CHOW

Research output: Contribution to conferencePapers

Abstract

Reef Check Foundation is a non-profit organization founded in 1996. In 1997, Reef Check conducted the first-ever global survey of coral reef health that scientifically reflected the status and threat of the coral reefs around the world. Hong Kong Reef Check is part of the global programme to promote sustainable management of coral reefs in Hong Kong, starting in 1997. In collaboration with the Reef Check Foundation, the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) has been coordinating this annual survey since 2000. The aims of the Hong Kong Reef Check are to raise public awareness on the ecological importance of coral reefs and the need for coral conservation; and to provide updated information on local corals for conservation and management purposes. Groups of enthusiastic divers from various sectors of community, such as universities, non-government organizations, diving clubs and even secondary schools, conduct surveys in the coral areas under the instruction of marine ecologists (team scientists) each year in the Reef Check. The international standard transect method was used in the underwater surveys and it included the identification, counting and size estimation of indicator species of reef fishes and marine invertebrates, estimation of the coral coverage, as well as recording the health condition of corals. With the effort in promoting the event over 12 year, the number of participants in Hong Kong Reef Check has reached 570 divers from 48 teams in 2012. In addition, Reef Check fulfilled the three major aspects of general education programme, namely knowledge, skill and attitude, to serve as a successful role model for science education programme. The programme has established a means of knowledge transfer through public seminars on Reef Check and local marine ecology, as well as guidance and co-working with team scientists. Skills of the participants, in terms of field survey and ecological data collection, have been strengthened during their execution of the Reef Check survey. Thus the message of marine conservation has been successfully propagated to different sectors of the community through their participation in the activity, and becoming a diver more responsible for conserving our environment. Hong Kong Reef Check has become not only a programme enhancing the public engagement into an academic research project, but also a model project emphasizing on the multidisciplinary collaboration in science education.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2013

Citation

Ng, W.-c., Cheang, C.-c., Kei, K., Tsoi, K.-h., & Chow, W.-k. (2013, July). AFCD workshop: Hong Kong Reef Check: A programme to promote sustainable management of corals and science education. Paper presented at the 3rd International Conference of East-Asian Association for Science Education, The Hong Kong Institute of Education, China.

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