QWETCH X REEF CHECK, THE CORAL DOCTOR

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Qwetch and Reef Check France, sounding the reef together. 

Qwetch has partnered up with Reef Check France to strengthen its action towards protecting biodiversity, and more specifically protecting marine and coral ecosystems. The Reef Check association sounds the reef and seeks to understand how corals and their inhabitants, invertebrates and fish behave, while analysing their health. 

OUR HEALTH DEPENDS ON THE REEFS’. 

Still widely unknown, our health depends on that of marine reefs. Coral reefs play a major role from an ecological as well as an economic point of view. They are home to over 25% of the planet’s biodiversity while taking up only 0.1% of the oceans’ surface. A rich and diverse food chain therefore depends on it: every day, several million people feed thanks to reefs.

But for the past twenty years, their main manufacturer, coral, has been in danger. Although many initiatives around the world have been working since the 90s to try to curb their deterioration, they are slowly dying. This is due to some natural factors (such as “El Niño” or cyclones) and other factors directly linked to human activities such as pollution, fishing, or global warming. 

Hi Jean-Pascal, before talking about your association, could you first introduce yourself in a few words? 

I’m a marine biologist and specialise in the “Humans & Reefs” health issues. I have been working for many years to make science accessible to all by offering adapted and useful scientific activities. I live in Reunion Island and am part of the team Reef Check France. 

What is Reef Check? 

Reef Check is an international participatory and citizen science initiative for coral reefs launched in 1998 and is now present in about 80 countries. As in other countries, the Reef Check France association has been working since 2010 in the overseas territories (Reunion, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Mayotte, New Caledonia, Polynesia, etc.) to lead local initiatives aimed at preserving coral reefs and raising public awareness on the fragility of this biodiversity. 

What are your main actions? 

We have varied actions in each overseas territory: 

• We regularly monitor the health of sentinel reefs with our team of volunteers; 

• We encourage citizens – companies, schools, administrations, tourists – to switch from being spectators to actors of change, in particular via our free training programme to become EcoDiver and thus collect scientific data on coral reefs; 

• We carry out awareness-raising actions against waste through lagoon and beach clean-ups where waste is sorted and analysed. We also seek to educate the general public about the use of sunscreens, some of which are harmful to the health of coral reefs but also to our own health. 

#qwetch | @qwetch.fr
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