Bookmark and Share

Great Victorian Fish Count

Great Victorian Fish Count 2015

A male Whitebarred Boxfish, Anoplocapros lenticularis. Source: Rick Stuart-Smith / Reef Life Survey. License: CC by Attribution


Saturday 21 November to Sunday 6 December 2015

The 2015 Great Victorian Fish Count has wrapped up for another year and the Victorian National Parks Association would like to say a huge thank you to all involved!

This was the eleventh year of the Great Victorian Fish Count and once again this fantastic marine citizen science event proved to be a great success! Approximately 350 different participants were involved over the course of this year's count, with 33 different sites surveyed along Victoria's coastline.

The Great Victorian Fish Count is a fabulous way to explore Victoria's beautiful sea and a practical way to make our oceans healthier and happier places for our unique marine plants and animals to live.


> Get inspired, watch our video

> Fish Count manual

> Fish Count ID guide

> Download fact sheet

> Download the 2015 poster


Fish everywhere!

Healthy levels of marine life were observed at many of the sites, particularly within Victoria's marine national parks and sanctuaries. The most common species observed this year were:

  • Magpie Perch
  • Leatherjackets
  • Victorian Scalyfin
  • Zebra Fish
  • Old Wife
  • Sea Sweep
  • Senator Wrasse
  • Blue Throat Wrasse

Great Victorian Fish Count participants at Point Cooke Marine Sanctuary
Great Victorian Fish Count participants at Point Cooke Marine Sanctuary. Photo taken by Phillip Wierzbowski, Coastcare Victoria.


Great Victorian Fish Count Summary Report

The results and data from all the survey sites have been analysed in a comprehensive report.

Learn more


Winners are grinners

We'd like to congratulate Amy who participated in the Great Victorian Fish Count at Pea Soup/South Beach in Port Fairy, with local dive operator Daktari Surf and Dive.

Amy was the lucky winner of the 2015 Great Victorian Fish Count Prize Draw, winning a set of dive regulators generously donated by Scubapro.


GVFC Participants with Ocean Divers at Blairgowrie Pier
Participants in their 2015 Great Victorian Fish Count t-shirts at Blairgowrie Pier. Photo courtesy Ocean Divers.


Thank you!

A big thank you to the all local conservation groups, dive operators, schools, dive clubs and their participants who took part in the 2015 Great Victorian Fish Count.

VNPA would also like to extend particular thanks to Parks Victoria for their invaluable support and for implementing fish count activities in Victorian marine national parks and sanctuaries.

Thanks also to Coastcare Victoria for their assistance in promoting this year’s event and to Museum Victoria and Redmap Victoria for providing scientific consultation and assistance with fish identification.


Fish on the move

The theme of the 2015 Great Victorian Fish Count was 'fish on the move'. We are interested in how changes in our marine environment are affecting fish populations. Divers and scientists have noted that some fish species, like the Whitebarred Boxfish, are shifting in their distribution and we are keen to find out more.

Fish counters were encouraged to keep an eye out for any particularly unusual sightings which can be logged with the national Redmap project (Range Extension Database & Mapping project), which in our State is hosted by Museum Victoria.


Whitebarred boxfish (Anoplocapros lenticularis)

Recorded from Westernport in Victoria to Dongarra in Western Australia, the Whitebarred Boxfish has only been sighted in Port Phillip Bay in relatively recent times, so more sightings would be very useful.

Learn more

  A male Whitebarred Boxfish, Anoplocapros lenticularis, at Rottnest Island, Western Australia. Source: Rick Stuart-Smith / Reef Life Survey. License: CC by Attribution


Spotted Grubfish (Parapercis ramsayi)

Although thought to occur from Byron Bay to Montague Island in NSW and from Victor Harbor in South Australia to Rottnest Island in Western Australia, Spotted Grubfish have turned up at Wilsons Promontory and in Port Phillip Bay. So, we'd love divers to keep a lookout for them.

Learn more

  A Spotted Grubfish, Parapercis ramsayi, at Fairy Bower, Manly, New South Wales. Source: Richard Ling / Flickr. License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike


Short Boarfish (Parazanclistius hutchinsi)

Short Boarfish occur from about Eden in southern NSW to Rottnest Island in Western Australia, and have been seen around Mornington Pier and at other places for the past 10 years or so.

Learn more

  A Short Boarfish, Parazanclistius hutchinsi, at Mornington Pier, Port Phillip Bay, Victoria. Source: Sarah Speight / Flickr. License: CC By Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0


Legal stuff

The annual fish count is facilitated by the VNPA but the participating organisations are legally responsible for the safety of all individual fish counters whilst engaging in underwater monitoring activities. Also the fish count site, location and time is chosen by the participating organisations.

As a dive operator, school, underwater club or Friends of group teaming up with a Parks Victoria ranger you are fully responsible and must have public liability insurance for all participants you lead at the fish count site chosen by you.



Thanks to Scubapro for donating their diving equipment for the 2015 Great Victorian Fish Count Draw. Thanks also to Roger Fenwick for providing the Great Victorian Fish Count video.


Where we dive

Over 30 different sites were surveyed in the 2015 Great Victorian Fish Count. You can find the local groups involved and where they surveyed here.

Your key VNPA contacts to find out more information are:

  • Tilly Reynolds, Administration Assistant, coordinating the 2015 Great Victorian Fish Count: (03) 9347 5188,
  • Caitlin Griffith, Community Education and Engagement Manager, (03) 9341 6508,


Divers taking part in the Great Victorian Fish Count monitor reefs all along our coastline.