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Counting fish on the move as seas warm

Thursday 22 October 2015

Media release

Hundreds of divers and snorkelers will take to the water this summer as part of the biggest citizen science event on Victoria's marine calendar, the Great Victorian Fish Count.

"The huge amount of enthusiasm volunteers have for the Great Victorian Fish Count reflects the deep knowledge and passion that exists in local communities for our marine life," Caitlin Griffith from the Victorian National Parks Association said today.

"This enthusiasm makes it possible to contribute large amounts of real, usable data to marine managers and improves our understanding of Victoria's waters."

Now in its eleventh year, the Great Victorian Fish Count is organised by the Victorian National Parks Association in partnership with Parks Victoria, Museum Victoria, Coastcare Victoria, local dive operators and community groups. It will run from Saturday 21 November to Sunday 6 December.

Divers and snorkelers from dive clubs, universities, schools, community groups and the general public contribute by counting fish along Victoria's coast.

This year's fish count is looking for 'Fish on the Move', and will focus on species that may be expanding their distribution and populations as a result of changes in the marine environment, such as ocean warming due to climate change.

Fish counters will be asked to keep an eye out for well-known locals as well as species that may be new or unusual to the area. They'll also be encouraged to log unusual or rare sightings on the Redmap project (redmap.org.au).

Redmap is a national 'citizen science' project that captures data and maps marine species that may be extending their range in Australia in response to changes in the marine environment.

Parks Victoria will coordinate surveys in many of Victoria's marine national parks and sanctuaries.

"The Great Victorian Fish Count is a wonderful example of the Healthy Parks - Healthy People activities we promote," said Parks Victoria's Marine and Coasts program leader Mark Rodrigue.

"People can get out into Victoria's spectacular underwater parks and help improve our understanding of their health while having fun taking part in a great physical activity in the environment."

Registrations of interest for the Great Victorian Fish Count are currently open to dive clubs and community groups. For further information visit fishcount.vnpa.org.au or phone the Victorian National Parks Association on (03) 9347 5188.

Survey sites already confirmed include Flinders Pier, Rye Pier, Ricketts Point Marine Sanctuary, Bunurong Marine National Park, Port Phillip Heads Marine National Park, Beware Reef Marine Sanctuary, Port Campbell, Warrnambool and Port Fairy.

 

For comment

  • Caitlin Griffith, Community Education and Engagement Manager, Victorian National Parks Association - (03) 9341 6508.
  • Mark Rodrigue, Program Leader Marine and Coasts, Parks Victoria - 0429 350 971.
    Phil Wierzbowski, Port Phillip and Westernport Facilitator, Coastcare Victoria - 0411 409 815.
  • Dianne Bray, coordinator Redmap Victoria, Sciences Department, Museum Victoria - 0405 717 210.

 

Photo opportunities

The fish count will offer great photo and media opportunities close to Melbourne, including at Ricketts Point Marine Sanctuary, Beaumaris or at Barwon Bluff Marine Sanctuary at Barwon Heads.

High quality imagery will also be available for use by the media. Please contact the Victorian National Parks Association on (03) 9347 5188.