Reef Check Dominican Republic

Protection and Conservation of Coral Reefs in the Dominican Republic, using marine protected areas as a tool to ensure sustainability of natural resources, and supporting the livelihoods of local communities
Feb 1, 2013

Progress report on coral reef restoration in DR

  • Four coral nursery structures were built using metal wire mesh; concrete blocks were used as anchors. Metal frames were covered with resin to delay rust. Heavy-duty tie raps were used to secure frames to blocks. These nurseries were placed in sandy bottom areas in 30 feet of water depth at coordinates 18°26'18.96"N, 69°41'6.18"W. Fragments were transported wrapped in wet paper towels and inside coolers. Once frames were in place, collected coral fragments from the Punta Cana coral nursery were attached to the frames using tie-raps. Some fragments (A. palmatta) collected at Fronton beach, Samana, were secured to cement “cookies”, which were then secured to the frames using tie raps.
  • Four metal frames coral nurseries were built and placed in Las Terrenas (NE DR) at coordinates 19°19'38.86"N and 69°30'51.05"W, as a duplicate for La Caleta MPA nursery. This coral nursery is an initiative financed by Balcones del Atlántico Hotel (Rock Resorts), which is supporting some of the marine conservation activities of Reef Check DR. The objective of this nursery is to share coral fragments between these two locations to distribute any risks and potential damages to either one.
  • One rope coral nursery was built during the training workshop conducted in Punta Cana during April 2012. Due to storms during the 2012 and later availability of coral fragments from the Punta Cana nursery, this nursery will be placed in the water at La Caleta MPA during March 2013. It is estimated that this rope nursery can hold approximately 150 A. cervicornis fragments.
  • Two PVC frames nursery for A. palmata were built during January 2013, and will be placed in the water in Las Terrenas during March 2013. It is estimated that these PVC nursery can hold approximately 75 A. palmata fragments each.

Nov 3, 2012

Controlling Lion Fish Initiative

Derby judging lead by CMS student Maria Fernandez
Derby judging lead by CMS student Maria Fernandez

Reef Check DR continues to undertake monthly Lion Fish control dives at the Submarine National Park, using trained volunteers and using the equipment purchased with the funds provided through Global Giving.



With combined efforts with the DR Ministry of Environment, and The Nature Conservancy, and the University of teh West Indies in Jamaica, and with funding from the United States agency for international development (USAID), a lion fish management and control workshop was held during August 2012 for over 25 local people, involving divers, GOs and NGOs staff. As part of this efforts, Reef Check DR did 5 lectures for fishermen about lion fish management and control in five locations on DR, Bayahibe, Sajona island, Sanchez, Samana and las Terrenas.



During the past months Reef Check DR, as part of the Lion Fish Initiative, worked in assisting the Carol Morgan School Students (a local American school) in organizing a lionfish derby (using adecuate sustainable fishing gear) at the National Submarine Park that is co-managed by the foundation. By supporting this kind of derby and involving high school students, many learned the details and the threats that the lionfish has posed in the Caribbean. Ten teams of two individuals were registered and prizes for the smallest, the biggest and the largest catches were awarded. After completing this event, as part of the learning experience, Dr. Ruben Torres, President for Reef Check Dominican Republic, aided in setting up a fish tank with two Lion Fish at Carol Morgan School in order to demonstrate invasive species effects.  He has also been giving talks about this species in our waters at different grade levels.


In addition, Reef Check Dominican Republic was recognized at TASTE (Gastronomic Fair in Dominican Republic celebrated October 19th 2012) for our Lion Fish initiative achieving the introduction of this species into our gourmet cooking cuisine. Chefs and Media from all over the country participated in this event recognizing the efforts that we achieved with your assistance.


We encourage anyone who wants to keep our continued achievements on the lion fish initiative, which has led to localized control of this invasive species, specially in la Caleta National Marine Park. We hope we can continue these efforts with your kind donations, for more info, visit our website:

Students infront of the Lion Fish tank
Students infront of the Lion Fish tank
TASTE recognition to RCDR!!!
TASTE recognition to RCDR!!!
The biggest Catch at the Lion Fish Fair
The biggest Catch at the Lion Fish Fair
Students infront of the Lion Fish tank
Students infront of the Lion Fish tank


Oct 3, 2012

Report #1

Tagged Coral Fragment on Coral Nursery
Tagged Coral Fragment on Coral Nursery

Report #1 (July 9-September 30, 2012)

Coral Reefs Restoration in the Dominican Republic
After the initial funding received, Reef Check DR was able to build and install four metal frame nurseries in La Caleta Marine Park, specifically at the following coordinates ( 18°26'18.96"N,  69°41'6.18"W) at approximately 30 feet of depth in sandy bottom. These frames were populated with coral fragments of Acropora cervicornis brought from an existing coral nursery in Punta Cana (operated by Punta Cana Ecological Foundation), and of Acropora palmatta, fragments brought from Playa Frontón in Samana, from a natural reef, but only collecting fragments that have been naturally broken colonies due to waves and storm.
Coral fragments were measured, tagged and placed in the coral frames (see attached picture). Visitors to the global giving website were able to learn about the coral nursery technique to enhance the already documented restoration of reefs by reducing local impacts like fishing, and anchoring, as part of a community-based management of La Caleta Marine Protected Area in the Dominican Republic.
To the date of this report this project has received 22 donations, 13 for adopting a coral fragments, and others supporting the regular maintenance of this coral nursery.
During the summer season, a few tropical storms threatened the coral nursery, and one (Isaac) was actually able to produce some damage, but thanks to the quick response by Reef Check staff, more damages were avoided.


To adopt a coral or contribute to the well being of these corals before being transplanted to the reefs, visit the link:
or for more information, please contact:

Ruben E. Torres, Ph.D.
Reef Check Dominican Republic
Prol. Fantino Falco #5, Piantini
Santo Domingo, R.D.
ph/fax 809-227-4409
cel. 809-902-6565

Webcam La Caleta

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