Founded in 1996, Reef Check is the world's largest international coral reef monitoring programme involving volunteer recreational divers and marine scientists.
First carried out on a large scale in 1997, it provided the first solid evidence that coral reefs have been damaged on a global scale. The survey raised the awareness of scientists, governments, politicians and the general public about the value of coral reefs, threats to their health and solutions to coral reef problems.
In August 2002, Reef Check released its five-year report, The Global Coral Reef Crisis - Trends and Solutions. Based on data collected in over 80 countries, the report was the first scientific documentation of the dramatic worldwide decline in coral reef health over the previous five years. The rate of decline and the global extent of the damage are alarming. There is virtually no reef in the world that remains untouched by human impacts, such as over fishing, pollution and climate change. Yet the success stories discussed in the report show that, with proper monitoring, management and protection, our coral reefs can recover. It is up to us.
Today, Reef Checks are conducted annually at sites around the world, in order to continually monitor the state of the world's reefs. Reef Check teams have been sponsored by a number of large corporations and have worked with many businesses in tourism, diving, surfing and the marine aquarium trade, to develop mutually beneficial solutions - including the creation of self-funding Marine Protected Areas.
Reef Check is now active in over 82 countries and territories throughout the world.
In 2001, the Reef Check Foundation appointed a National Coordinator for Malaysia, to promote Reef Check and carry out training and surveys. While there were some successes, lack of funding and support prevented the coordinator from having a major impact on marine conservation in Malaysia.
In 2006, the British Government provided funding for a one year project to establish a more sustainable Reef Check programme in Malaysia. That project culminated with the registration of Reef Check Malaysia as a non-profit company in August 2007.