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Reef Watch offers sea, sun and fun

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Family fun: Reef Watch participants record the number of fish seen on their assigned reef

Bermuda Zoological Society’s annual Reef Watch event is due to take place on the last Saturday of next month.

“Coupling sun and sea, fun and excitement, with civic responsibility and a little bit of good-hearted competition, Reef Watch participants have a unique opportunity to enjoy a pleasurable day out on the water while making a lasting contribution to ongoing research into Bermuda’s coral reefs,” BZS said.

Bermuda has some of the healthiest reefs in the world but frequent monitoring helps scientists to protect hundreds of square miles of coral, ensuring that Bermuda’s reefs are conserved for future generations.

Volunteers are welcomed to take part in Reef Watch.

“Each team of four will be assigned two reefs and will be provided with the necessary training to successfully conduct a survey on the health of those reefs,” BZS said.

“Teams must provide their own water transport out to the reefs and are also asked to try and raise at least $500, the proceeds of which all go towards reef conservation and protection.”

Last year, the event raised $24,573 for reef research. Teams compete to raise the most for reef conservation, with the top fundraisers awarded prizes for their efforts at a barbecue at Bermuda Aquarium Museum and Zoo for all the participants.

BZS said it was thanks to lead sponsor Hiscox that it was able to head back out on to the water with its “citizen scientists”.

Jeremy Pinchin, chief executive officer of Hiscox, said: “Our protection of them remains vital today given the protection they provide to the Island and the economic benefits the Island derives from them. They will provide a glorious backdrop when the Island is on show to the world during the America’s Cup.

“We hope everyone privileged to live in Bermuda can join us, in any way they can, to help protect this wonderful asset.”

The event, which is also supported by Groundswell, supports the ongoing research of Bermuda Reef Ecosystem Analysis and Monitoring.

Those keen to create or join a team for the June 27 event can visit www.crowdrise.com/reefwatch, or e-mail development.bzs@gov.bm

Thaddeus Murdoch, the lead scientist with Bream, shares an overview of the data collected during the 2014 Reef Watch event
Whole families enjoyed themselves while contributing data to important scientific research on the health of Bermuda’s coral reefs