Coral Reef Crime Scene Investigation (CSI)
Regardless of region, most coral reef ecosystems are under various levels of anthropogenic impact. In areas where a management plan is in place with regulations outlined to protect the marine environment, management authorities are often limited in resources to enforce those regulations.
The capacity of resource managers to respond to short-term human impact incidences is often limited in terms of training, time and financial means. Training for field investigators in investigative, forensic and rapid ecological assessment techniques is required, to ensure accurate assessment and data collection and maximise prosecution, mitigation, or negotiation success.
The International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI) created a committee on Coral Reef Enforcement and Natural Resource Investigation to facilitate the development of standards and protocols that respond to this need.
Under initial start up funds from the US Department of State and NOAA, a toolkit and training programme has been developed for standardised coral reef enforcement and natural resource investigations, which can be adapted for use in any major coral reef region and applied to a wide variety of events.
Regional training workshops are being conducted in regions around the world, focusing on the toolkit components, to train coral reef resource managers and enforcement personnel in enhanced resource protection and management capabilities to respond to natural resource impact events.