FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
San Francisco, CA – February 8, 2011 – The Coral Reef Alliance (CORAL) is now the home of the international Coral Reef CSI program . This new partnership, announced by CORAL today, will expand the field of coral reef forensic investigation in coral reef locations around the world, offering more protection to these valuable and fragile ecosystems.
"The Coral Reef CSI program is filling an important niche, as few marine protected areas have field investigators armed with the knowledge and tools necessary to hold responsible parties accountable for injuries to managed coral reef resources," said Rick MacPherson, Interim Executive Director and Conservation Programs Director at the Coral Reef Alliance (CORAL). "The program is a natural fit for CORAL because it is closely aligned with our own community-focused approach to reducing local reef threats in order to create and sustain healthy coral reef communities."
Crime scene investigation (CSI) techniques have become famous through a host of popular television dramas, and the Coral Reef CSI program uses similar forensic science strategies underwater. Designed in 2006, the program has worked in thirteen countries and has trained over 300 marine protected area resource managers, enforcement officers, academics, and litigators in underwater evidence collection.
Through the program's rigorous field training workshops, participants learn underwater forensic investigative techniques applicable to vessel groundings, destructive fishing, illegal extraction, and other negative impacts to coral reefs. Participants also practice proper procedures for gathering and preserving evidence in the marine environment and receive expert advice on providing clear and concise analysis during decision-making processes such as court trials.
"By working together with CORAL, we look forward to expanding global efforts to improve coral reef investigation and enforcement," said Dave Gulko, director of the international Coral Reef CSI field training program. "Through our partnership with CORAL, we plan to develop new educational and field methods for improving compliance and building support for coral reef conservation."
A total of five Coral Reef CSI trainings are slated for 2011, including implementations in Honduras, Thailand, Indonesia, and Guadeloupe. Several new training modules focused on enforcement, field contaminant assays, and field sea turtle forensics are expected to be implemented later this year and into 2012.
About the Coral Reef Alliance
The Coral Reef Alliance (CORAL) unites communities to save coral reefs. We provide tools, education, and inspiration to residents of coral reef destinations to support local projects that benefit both reefs and people. Originally founded in 1994 to galvanize the dive community for conservation, CORAL has grown from a small, grassroots alliance into the only international nonprofit organization that works exclusively to protect our planet's coral reefs. Visit www.coral.org  or call1-888-CORAL-REEF.
About the Coral Reef CSI Program
The Coral Reef CSI program, which arose from the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI) Working Group on Coral Reef Enforcement and Investigation, was designed in 2006 as a way for coral reef managers, enforcement officers, investigators, and natural resource trustees to receive training in underwater natural resource investigative techniques. The training program encourages investigation, mitigation, and prosecution success for natural resource injury events and is generating regional and national level commitments for improved coral reef investigation and enforcement. The program’s web resources and tools are available at www.coral.org/coral_reef_csi .
Contact: Susan Wolf, (415) 834 - 0900 x 319, swolf (at) coral.org