Thursday, June 14, 2012

Golden opportunity for Gold Coast reefs


Volunteer reef health monitoring organisation, Reef Check Australia, has kicked off their monitoring survey season in South East Queensland with support from locally-based AirAsia! Reef Check volunteer divers jumped in at Palm Beach Reef and Narrowneck artificial reef this week as the first official dives of the 2011 survey season.

“It’s amazing to dive with such vibrant and diverse marine life and then surface to see the bustling city skyline along the coast,” says, Reef Check Australia’s General Manager, Jennifer Loder. “In half a day we saw breaching whales, dozens of colourful nudibranchs, resting wobbegongs and a multitude of fish. Reef Check programs can help to ensure that there are healthy reef & ocean habitats to support such amazing marine life.”

Over the next several months, Reef Check survey teams will visit reef sites stretching from the Gold Coast to the Sunshine Coast, monitoring reef composition, recording abundance of key fish and invertebrates and documenting reef impacts such as bleaching, coral disease or marine debris. Reef Check’s globally-standardised scientific protocols are currently implemented in more than 90 locations around the world, establishing a unique opportunity to compare reef health around the world.

All Reef Check Australia data is available, free-of-charge, to members of the public who want to learn more about their favourite local reefs via the Reef Check Australia Reef Health Database. Data is also provided to government agencies, natural resource managers and industry to assist in reef management efforts, helping to compliment government monitoring efforts and fill gaps in reef health monitoring data.

More than a dozen local dive operators support Reef Check’s monitoring efforts by providing dive trips to monitoring sites around the South East Queensland area at reduced rates. Local businesses, such as AirAsia, are now showing their support for the community-based initiative through Reef Check Australia’s Adopt a Reef program. “Queensland's Gold Coast was the very first destination of AirAsia's long haul carrier AirAsia X, it is a community we have always had a strong affinity with and we feel it only fitting to further extend our support of the Gold Coast community beyond its shoreline to its local marine wildlife as well,” says Stuart Myerscough, AirAsia’s Marketing Manager.

Jennifer Loder adds, “Reef Check Australia is striving to build awareness, appreciation and protection of rocky reefs, like Palm Beach Reef, right here on our doorstep in SEQ; they really are pretty special. Local partnerships are essential to the success of our program, so we’re grateful that AirAsia is supporting these efforts as our first Adopt a Reef Corporate Giving Program sponsor.”

Find out more about getting involved in a volunteer training course, the Adopt a Reef program or other ways to protect reef and ocean habitats, visit
For additional information and high resolution images, contact:
Jennifer Loder, General Manager at or 0402284681.

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