CORAL's Historical Timeline
- The significant decline of reefs due to human activity was beginning to be documented.
- CORAL founded by Stephen Colwell to engage the dive community in protecting coral reefs.
- First microgrant awarded to Bonaire Marine Park.
- CORAL website launched.
- Partnered with the Palau Conservation Society (grant of $72,000) to support protection of Rock Island Marine Park.
- Joined the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI), the first-ever multilateral effort to bring government agencies, scientists, and NGOs together for the purpose of developing global conservation strategies.
- Membership program launched.
- CORAL's traveling slide show, The Vanishing Rainbow, made its way to more than 100 dive clubs, schools, and community groups throughout the country.
- Provided leadership to the tremendously successful International Year of the Reef (IYOR) Public Awareness Campaign. By the end of 1997, more than 225 organizations in 45 countries had sponsored IYOR activities
- Was selected from more than 2,500 U.S. non-governmental organizations to appear in a 30-minute PBS documentary entitled The Visionaries, filmed on Palau Island, Micronesia. The show documented CORAL's work to promote coral reef conservation and was distributed to 175 television markets across the country to be aired four times throughout each market.
- Established the Bonaire Dive Festival, which is the largest environmental event of its kind in the Caribbean, where participants see firsthand how a marine protected area can create a healthy reef environment.
- Rodale's Scuba Diving Magazine, the largest circulation magazine for divers, awarded CORAL the 1998 Robert Rodale Environmental Award for getting divers and the dive industry involved in marine conservation.
- CORAL's traveling underwater photography exhibition entitled Coral Reef Masterpieces was viewed by nearly 2 million people.
- Website was voted Most Visited Site for Coral Reefs by the search engine Hot Bot. The website has won several other awards and was featured on the PBS program The Net Café, which highlights interesting and influential websites.
- Founding member of the International Coral Reef Action Network (ICRAN), a coalition formed to implement the International Coral Reef Initiative Framework for Action.
- Established the new Marine Protected Areas Program.
- Launched the International Coral Reef Information Network, a Web-based portal to coral reef educational resources, science, and activities for use by teachers, nonprofit organizations, and coral reef nations.
- Launched Dive In to Earth Day to encourage the public to participate in Earth Day activities focused on marine themes. Approximately 1,650 divers and more than 3,000 other marine enthusiasts participated throughout the world in activities such as underwater and beach cleanups, fish and coral surveys, mooring buoy installations, and artificial reef placement.
- Opened branch office on Bonaire.
- Launched Dive Operator Recognition Program to reward environmentally sustainable business practices on coral reefs.
- Launched Coral Parks Program designed to help improve management of marine protected areas.
- Added Marine Protected Area Management tool kit to CORAL website.
- Conducted first-ever training in sustainable dive operations in Bonaire.
- Awarded fellowship to Sirilo "Didi" Dulunaqio, a Fijian from the Kubalau District to travel to Bonaire for a two-week training in MPA management. On his return, Didi worked with the ten village chiefs of the district to ban all commercial fishing on their local atoll, the Namena Marine Reserve. His training also provided him with tools to better engage the local community in support of extending user fees and boat patrols.
- Hired Executive Director Brian Huse.
- Conducted first-ever survey of marine park mangers, detailing the key opportunities and challenges facing coral reef marine protected areas.
- Advised Cozumel Marine Park on how to cope with specific management issues such as the introduction of invasive algae, user fee administration, and engaging dive operators in park protection.
- Provided a five-day training program to a group of managers and dive operators from the Seaflower Biosphere Reserve, Colombia.
- Chosen by USAID to lead a $600,000 three-year effort to foster sustainability in the tourism industry along the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System, involving the nations of Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, and Honduras.
- Published The Practical Guide to Good Practice - a comprehensive manual for building environmental and economic sustainability for the marine recreation industry.
- Initiated field projects with marine protected areas and the marine recreation industry in Palau, Fiji, and Pohnpei.
- Selected by UNESCO to facilitate stakeholder process in Kiribati for the formulation of a World Heritage Site in the central Pacific Ocean.
- Designed new user fee system for Pohnpei that will generate funds for the management of their marine protected area network.
- Through CORAL's work, Palau revised management plan for Rock Islands Marine Park to greatly improve enforcement of regulations, conservation programs, and the visitor experience.
- Brought together Koror State Government officials, marine recreation providers, and local and international organizations to form an alliance to manage the Rock Islands Marine Park.
- Facilitated process in Milne Bay, Papua New Guinea, to resolve disputes around ownership of reef resources and ensure tourism and conservation benefits the local communities.
- Launched first domestic conservation program on Maui to improve management of Honolua Bay and Molokini Marine Life Protection Districts.
- Completed design of new approach for reef conservation, the Coral Reef Sustainable Destination (CRSD) model.
- Hired first of eight Field Representatives who work to maintain momentum in our field project sites.
- CRSD conservation success showcased internationally: World Tourism Forum on Peace and Sustainable Development, the Central American Congress on Protected Area Management, and the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force meeting.
- Published the first-ever Voluntary Standards for Marine Recreation to enhance protection of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef.
- New user fee system facilitated by CORAL for the Namena Marine Reserve in Fiji generated sufficient income to implement public-awareness campaign, a warden system, and scholarships for 100 school children.
- CRSD program implemented in 7 communities in Mexico, Belize, Fiji, Hawaii, Papua New Guinea, and Indonesia
- Board approved a plan to expand CORAL's conservation impact to new locations in strategically located sites. These will serve as "centers of excellence" and be used to spread skills and lessons learned to neighboring communities and islands.
- Total budget exceeded $2 million for the first time
- CORAL sponsored educational events in honor of the 2008 International Year of the Reef in Hawaii, Belize, Fiji, and Bonaire.
- INDO-PACIFIC REGION: In Fiji, CORAL and the Kubulau Resource Management Committee completed the world's first business plan written specifically for a marine protected area. CORAL also helped the Madang Lagoon Association in Papua New Guinea become an official community organization and established Raja Ampat, Indonesia, as a full-fledged CRSD site. The user fee CORAL established in Raja Ampat earned more than $100,000 in its first year of existence.
- MESOAMERICA: CORAL installed nearly 40 mooring buoys in Belize as part of a project to remove more than 25,000 anchors from the reefs every year, and also funded mooring buoys and other infrastructure improvements in the Roatan Marine Park in Honduras. The new Environmental Walk-Through program provided critical assessments for marine recreation operators in all three project sites.
- U.S. STATES AND TERRITORIES: In Hawaii, two hundred volunteers came together as the Kona Task Force to create voluntary standards for marine recreation. CORAL and its partners installed nearly 30 "Respecting Coral Reefs" signs on Maui to educate visitors.
- CORAL celebrated 15 years of coral reef conservation. Special events included an anniversary dive trip to the Namena Marine Reserve in Fiji and a weeklong convergence of CORAL field staff in San Francisco.
- INDO-PACIFIC REGION: CORAL completed the final installation of mooring buoys in the Namena Marine Reserve, making it the first official anchor-free zone in Fiji. In Raja Ampat, Indonesia, CORAL helped the Misool Eco Resort create the first-ever patrol program in the Eastern Misool Locally Managed Marine Area.
- MESOAMERICA: CORAL developed a groundbreaking business plan for the Roatan Marine Park in Honduras and supported a Coral Reef Crime Scene Investigation training in Belize. As an official training requirement for tour guides operating in the Cozumel Reefs National Marine Park, CORAL's Sustainable Marine Recreation workshops had reached over 700 tourism operators in Mexico by the end of the 2009.
- U.S. STATES AND TERRITORIES: CORAL facilitated the successful development and adoption of voluntary standards for marine tourism in West Hawaii. Several large retailers joined CORAL's Fish Friendly Business Alliance by agreeing to remove snorkeling fish food from their stores across Hawaii. CORAL held its first Sustainable Marine Recreation workshop in Puerto Rico at the 22nd Annual U.S. Coral Reef Task Force Meeting.
- INDO-PACIFIC REGION: CORAL expanded our marine conservation work to the eastern Bali community of Amed. In the biodiverse Raja Ampat region of West Papua, Indonesia, CORAL helped local partners develop patrol guidelines and trainings for the Misool Locally-Managed Marine Area (LMMA). In Fiji, CORAL and the Kubulau Resource Management Committee (KRMC) joined together to purchase telephone equipment for each of the region’s ten villages.
- MESOAMERICA: CORAL expanded its Reef Leadership Network to Playa del Carmen and Riviera Maya, Mexico, training six Reef Leaders in Playa del Carmen. CORAL also coordinated a sustainable financing workshop for local NGO partners to provide the necessary tools and knowledge to help them identify and secure new funding sources for coral reef conservation. In Honduras, CORAL worked closely with the Roatan Marine Park on several conservation effots, including the proposed expansion of marine protected areas to include Cordelia Banks. CORAL helped the park develop a merchandising strategy, resulting in an increase of the park’s revenue by 25 percent from 2009 to 2010. A CORAL-funded microgrant was used to install and ensure the maintenance of twenty new mooring buoys in Cayos Cochinos, a small archipelago off the northern coast of Honduras. In Belize, CORAL and private investors funded a mooring buoy project to prevent anchor damage to the shallow reef system near Ambergris Caye, coordinating the installation of eighteen new mooring buoys. Over the course of a week, CORAL volunteers planted nearly 100 mangrove seedlings in three high-priority locations along the coast of San Pedro.
- U.S. STATES AND TERRITORIES: Partnering with the state of Hawaii, CORAL coordinated volunteer activities for the Kaanapali Makai Watch program, modeled after the successful Neighborhood Watch program, in which community members act as the “eyes and ears” for law enforcement. CORAL engaged important new partners in the voluntary standards project, including the popular Keauhou Beach Resort in West Hawaii and Expedia®.
- Dr. Michael Webster joined CORAL as the organization’s new executive director.
- CORAL partnered with the National Museum of Crime & Punishment in Washington, D.C., to showcase the Coral Reef CSI program as part of the Crimes Against Sea Life exhibit
- INDO-PACIFIC REGION: CORAL began working with the Pew Environment Group and the Fijian Ministry of Fisheries to advance legislation for a Fijian National Shark Sanctuary, securing endorsements from traditional leaders and developing wide-reaching media and education campaigns.
- MESOAMERICA: In Mexico, CORAL had trained approximately ninety percent of Cozumel’s marine operators in sustainable tourism principles. CORAL’s Cozumel partners developed and produced a sustainable seafood guide to educate the general public about responsible seafood choices. In Belize, CORAL collaborated with the Hol Chan Marine Reserve and the San Pedro Tour Guide association to host the first-ever lionfish tournament in San Pedro. The mayor and town council members of San Pedro endorsed CORAL’s mangrove restoration project, marking the first time the local government has participated in a collaborative conservation project.
- U.S. STATES AND TERRITORIES: CORAL continued targeted outreach to luxury hotels and marine recreation providers on Maui and Hawaii Island to encourage the adoption of sustainable business and marine recreation practices. CORAL continued to partner with the Big Island Reef Fund to produce and sell conservation-focused bag tags on Hawaii Island; proceeds are used to develop coral reef educational materials and provide stipends for local Reef Leaders.