Today I want to give a heads-up for OceansWatch, an organisation I recently joined, and which deserves to be promoted. I will provide below, unedited, some information on their organisation and goals.
OceansWatch is a not-for-profit Trust with a rapidly growing membership of individuals. Although we are based inour membership is worldwide and is made up of – medical doctors, dentists, engineers, dive instructors, underwater photographers, international development specialists, nurses, midwives, researchers, academics, tourism operators, outdoor educators, radio operators, scientists .. the list goes on!.. and many others interested in making a difference to coastal communities and their associated marine environments. By linking these island communities to those who are actively involved in marine research, education, humanitarian work and conservation we are able to offer practical solutions to their problems.
As we are a very young organisation, in this first year of operation projects are being focused in the Western Pacific on, and PNG where OceansWatch team members are already familiar with the local conditions.
OceansWatch offers its members a variety of opportunities to participate in marine conservation and humanitarian assistance programmes. As there are thousands of issues concerning the marine environment and thousands of solutions, OceansWatch has chosen to start with something that the Marine Biologists on our team www.oceanswatch.org/team are certain will be of benefit.
Having looked carefully at Reef Check www.reefcheck.org they are happy that the science is good and the results meaningful and of value. Reef Check is a system of monitoring reef health with particular reference to the effects of pollution, over-fishing, and the aquarium and curio trade. The Reef Check scientists have chosen their indicator species carefully to measure these pressures on the reef. The results go into an international database accessible by anyone and Reef Check regularly report on the state of the world’s reefs.
It was important for us that it was relatively simple for members to be able to help in a meaningful way and we feel that Reef Check fulfills our criteria. This year we are running a training programme in, but we ultimately aim to have bases worldwide where members can receive training. Once trained, members will be able to help out on the 2008 projects in , and PNG, with the possibility of more in and the . We can only work in countries defined as “developing” by the UN.
In addition to this in, OceansWatch will be working alongside Project MARC (Medical Assistance to Remote Communities) who welcomes our assistance on education and marine conservation projects. We will set up new Reef Check transects in an MPA (marine protected area) established by the local Chief; help the Fisheries Department mark established MPAs, as well as supporting current Reef Check programmes. In addition OceansWatch members yachts will distribute resources to local schools and items such as reading glasses under guidance of the local Red Cross. More details will come out shortly.
As well as practical projects, OceansWatch is also a forum for discussion and networking amongst like-minded people and as a member we encourage you to actively use our forums via the website. www.oceanswatch.org/forum .
I am adding a few links to related articles and information for further reading.