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Great Victorian Fish Count

Eastern Blue Gropers are known as the friendliest fish in the sea and are just one of the underwater  marvels found in Victoria’s marine national parks and sanctuaries

Eastern Blue Gropers are known as the friendliest fish in the sea and are just one of the underwater
marvels found in Victoria's marine national parks and sanctuaries. Composite image: Eastern Blue Groper, Sarah Speight; Baitfish at Rye Pier, David Bryant

 

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.

Every year for more than a decade volunteer divers and snorkelers have taken to Victoria's coastal waters to count reef fish.

The data they collect makes an invaluable contribution to marine science in Victoria and is why the fish count is one of the state's most successful citizen science events.

The 2016 Great Victorian Fish Count promises to be bigger and better than ever before, so why not sign up and take the plunge that counts?

This year's fish count will run for three full weeks, from Saturday, 19 November through to Sunday, 11 December 2016.

 
 Great Victorian Fish Count
> Brush up on your ID skills with our fish count video
> Fish Count manual
> Fish Count ID guide
> Download fact sheet
 

Our ReefWatch coordinator Kade Mills is busy preparing for this year's fish count, and is always looking for new recruits.

To get involved find a group diving near you or contact Kade on 03 9341 6500, email kadem@vnpa.org.au.

 

 

A look back at 2015

While the 2015 Great Victorian Fish Count is well and truly over we'd like to say a huge thank you to all involved and look forward to working with you all again this year!

The 2015 fish count proved a great success. Approximately 350 different participants helped survey 33 different sites along Victoria's coastline.

 

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 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.

We 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, and divers and scientists have noted that some fish species, like the Whitebarred Boxfish, are shifting in their distribution. We wanted to find out more.

Fish counters were encouraged to keep an eye out for any particularly unusual sightings that could 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.

 

Supporters

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:

  • Kade Mills, ReefWatch Coordinator: (03) 9341 6500, kadem@vnpa.org.au
  • Caitlin Griffith, Community Education and Engagement Manager, (03) 9341 6508, caitling@vnpa.org.au

 

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

 

Brush up on your ID skills with our fish count video