Dear valued REEF friends,
You are invited to our annual holiday open house, Tuesday December 8th at 6pm. We hope you will join the REEF staff and volunteers for this evening of holiday cheer. There will be food, drinks and even a raffle or two. The REEF Store will be stocked with fishy gifts and Board of Trustees members Anna and Ned DeLoach will be there to sign books and swap fish tales.
We hope to see you there.
The REEF Team
When: Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Where: James E. Lockwood REEF Headquarters
MM 98.3 in the Median, Key Largo, Florida
What: Open House Social from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. with fun, food, drinks, and a raffle or two!
In an ongoing collaborative conservation program called the ‘Grouper Moon Project’ with the Reef Environmental and Education Foundation (www.REEF.org), the Cayman Islands Department of the Environment has expanded the Nassau grouper monitoring to Grand Cayman. The collaboration started in 2002, following two consecutive years of heavy fishing and imminent collapse of what was thought to be the Cayman Islands remaining viable spawning aggregation of Nassau grouper, located at the west end of Little Cayman. Since 2004, a seasonal ban on fishing in all designated grouper spawning areas in the Cayman Islands has been in effect during spawning season. The Nassau grouper (Epinephelus striatus) is an ecological and economic corner stone of Caribbean coral reefs.
Thanks to a three-year grant from the Lenfest Ocean Program of the Pew Charitable Trusts, REEF, the Cayman Islands Department of the Environment (CIDOE) and Oregon State University (OSU) was able to expand the research and monitoring of the depleted local Nassau grouper spawning populations of the Cayman Islands. The funded research, broadly titled as "The reproductive biology of remnant Nassau grouper stocks: implications for Cayman Islands Marine Protected Area (MPA) management" will evaluate the potential of protected spawning sites to replenish Nassau grouper stocks.
The project, started in Little Cayman, and then the Brac, was expanded last year to include Grand Cayman. The Department of the Environment, who is responsible for the on-site work in tagging and monitoring a number of Nassau groupers, noted that the fish were aggregating and spawning at depths of 130 – 200 feet. This limited the time and work that researchers could safely and effectively complete in the 2-week spawning cycle.
To alleviate the constraints of diving deep depths on regular scuba, several other sponsors came on board to assist in the project, including Divetech and PM Gas of Grand Cayman, Silent Diving of Brockville, Ontario and Shearwater Research of Vancouver, British Columbia.
“The goal was to get DOE staff diving with closed circuit re-breathers (CCR), which by their nature allow divers to explore deeper depths with a constant partial pressure of oxygen, thereby giving them more dive time in a safe manner and extending the expedition time for greater project benefit” stated Nancy Easterbrook of Divetech. We contacted several of our partners and suppliers and were successful at getting the DOE some expensive equipment as a donation to the project. Having watched Dr. Brice Semmens fascinating presentation several times, we recognized the value of the data being collected for the sustainability of the Groupers for future generations.”
Silent Diving donated an Inspiration Classic CCR, Shearwater Research donated a Pursuit trimix computer, and PM Gas donated oxygen tanks to help the project. Divetech donated the training and materials for James Gibb of the DOE staff to become a CCR diver.
Bruce and Lynn Partridge commented "Shearwater Research Inc. is pleased to offer our support to the Cayman Department of the Environment and the Grouper Moon Project (REEF). We applaud the efforts of those involved with the catch, tag and release of Cayman’s endangered Groupers. As divers, we all appreciate a healthy fish population. The success of this program will also contribute greatly towards a establishing a sustainable fishery in the area."
Silent Diving is the distributor of the Inspiration and Evolution rebreathers. The rebreathers are well tested both in the field and through extensive CE testing in the UK before release. “We receive a lot of requests for participation in various projects – from filming to research and expeditions. The Grouper Moon project made sense to us as divers, as it is paramount to manage our marine fisheries in a responsible manner, and this takes knowledge. It was an easy decision to support this worthwhile project as we are also frequent visitors to Cayman”, stated Mike Fowler of Silent Diving.
Nassau grouper, normally solitary and territorial, travel during the winter full moons, sometimes over great distances, and “group” together to spawn. About fifty of these spawning aggregations sites have been recorded in different places throughout the Caribbean. Historically, once discovered, grouper aggregation sites have become synonymous with fisherman aggregation sites. Due to the timing and site fidelity of the spawning aggregations and the ease with which these relative loners can be caught while congregating by the hundreds and thousands to spawn, one-third to one-half of the known Caribbean aggregation sites are now inactive. The Cayman Islands used to be home to five Nassau grouper (Epinephelus striatus) spawning sites. Today, four of these sites are dormant or depleted. But one site, on the west end of Little Cayman Island, is home to one of the last great reproductive populations of this endangered species.
Nassau grouper populations seem to be particularly vulnerable to over-fishing, as perpetuation of the species depends solely on high numbers of older individuals needed to form viable spawning aggregations. These aggregations represent 100% of the species reproductive output, and form annually at historically well known locations during a very predictable and short period of time. The research being conducted will assist in preserving the groupers for both fishermen and divers to enjoy for generations to come by identifying the level and extent to which these very sensitive (and increasingly rare) spawning aggregations must be protected.
REEF and The Department of Environment wishes to especially thank Nancy Easterbrook of Divetech for being instrumental in securing the donation of the deep diving equipment that will greatly facilitate this goal.
We are excited to announce the launch of the *official* REEF Facebook page -- Become a Fan of REEF today. The REEF Facebook Page gives you the latest information about REEF's programs and events, our marine conservation work, and see exclusive content and stories. It's also a great place for our members to post pictures, fish stories and whatever is on their mind.
The Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF; www.REEF.org) is excited to announce a series of REEF Fish and Invertebrate ID Classes to be held in Orange County and Los Angeles on the 23th-25th of September! The courses are free of charge and open to all. A REEF survey dive will be held on September 26th at Malaga Cove in Palos Verdes.
Tired of not knowing what you're looking at on your underwater adventures? Are you an existing REEF surveyor looking to learn more. Or a diver who is just interested in learning more about what this program is all about? Learn how to identify many of our California Fish and Invertebrates in these fun, informative and FREE classes. Also learn how to do REEF surveys. These classes will change the way you dive!
We use common names, not scientific names, and focus on how to ID each critter. Classes help divers learn how to become citizen scientists and monitor California marine life on their recreational dives. Data gathered goes into an online database that is used by students, researchers, scientists, and resource agencies.
Classes are free but you must pre-register. You can sign up for one or all classes. Everyone is welcome to attend the shore dive on Saturday, regardless of going to a class.
Instructor: Janna Nichols, REEF Instructor and Dr. Christy Pattengill-Semmens, REEF Director of Science
More information and to signup, visit: http://www.pnwscuba.com/critterwatchers/calclasses.htmOver 6,300 REEF surveys have been conducted at hundreds of sites in California since the program begin in 1997. To see a summary of that data, visit http://www.reef.org/db/reports/geo/PAC/4. For more information about the REEF Volunteer Survey Project, visit: http://www.reef.org/programs/volunteersurvey
Find out about this and other great REEF events and topics by becoming a Fan of REEF on our Facebook Page -- http://www.facebook.com/pages/REEF-Reef-Environmental-Education-Foundati...
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Dear REEF Friends,
We are well into our Summer Fundraising Campaign, and on behalf of all of us at REEF, thank you to everyone who has already donated! We are on our way to meeting our goal, but more funds are still needed to ensure our core programs are maintained and continue to grow. These include:
We are excited to announce the launch of Online Data Entry 2.0. The new version includes several upgrades and now encompasses all of REEF's project regions. At long last, our REEF surveyors in the Tropical Eastern Pacific region (Baja Mexico - Galapagos Islands) and the Northeast US & Canada (Virginia - Newfoundland) are able to submit their survey data online. In addition, based on feedback from our members, the interface to add unlisted species has been greatly improved.
On Saturday morning, June 20, SCUBA divers will converge on Coral Street Cove, a popular dive site in Pacific Grove, to collect marine life population information on the nearshore rocky reefs. The surveys are part of two citizen science programs that train volunteer recreational SCUBA divers and snorkelers to conduct field surveys - REEF (Reef Environmental Education Foundation, www.reef.org) and Reef Check (www.reefcheck.org). The survey methods of both organizations differ in complexity and training required to conduct surveys.
The Indo-Pacific lionfish invasion front is rapidly moving south into the Caribbean. Through REEF’s on-the-ground work, lionfish impacts are being documented in the Bahamas and initial results suggest these impacts will be devastating. Belize saw their first lionfish in 2008, and they are spreading fast. Divers are starting to see more fish on more sites. Now, Belizean organizations are offering a $50.00 per fish bounty to remove the fish before they become established.
On Saturday April 25th, 2009, the headquarters of the Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF), located in Key Largo, Florida, will be dedicated in honor James E. Lockwood. The dedication ceremony will be held at the historic conch house located in the median of Highway 1 at Mile Marker 99.8 from 1 - 3pm.
3 Paths That Merged Into One
About The Benefactor
Key Largo, Florida. The Reef Environmental Education Foundation’s home study DVD, Reef Fish Identification Florida Caribbean Bahamas, A Beginning Course has been awarded a Bronze Award in the 2008 Telly Awards competition in the Non-Broadcast Education category.