A Reef Check Training Center was established in Phuket,Thailand to service training needs in South East Asia. With expertise from the Phuket Marine Biological Center (PMBC), this Training Center provides both basic coral reef ecology training as well as Reef Check and the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network (GCRMN) survey training. Training programs include courses for government employees, NGO staff and community outreach programs. The Training Center provides guidance for SouthEast Asian professionals who are seeking to pursue a career in marine conservation.
Training materials were translated, training facilities set up, and equipment purchased. The first international training workshop was held on June 25-29, 2001 at PBMC. The project provided full sponsorship to 16 trainees from seven countries in Asia: Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam. Two days of classroom training were held at the PMBC. Each participant gave a status report on the health of coral reefs in their country and discussed what is being done to manage reefs at the local community and government level. Three days of field training were then conducted at Ton Sai Bay, Phi Phi Don Island, Krabi province. The Thai Department of Fisheries donated the use and operational costs of the research vessel R/V Chakratong Tongyai. During the three-day cruise onboard the oceanographic vessel, a total of five dives were completed. At the end of each day, the trainees had an opportunity to discuss and compare their results with the scientists or clarify any confusion they may have had during the field practice. As a condition of sponsorship, each participant agreed to complete at least five Reef Check surveys in their countries within six months after being trained. A second international workshop was implemented in November, 2001.