Every November and December, hundreds of divers and snorkelers plunge into  the water to take part in the biggest citizen-science event on Victoria’s marine calendar, the Great Victorian Fish Count.

Armed with a dive slate, they record the numbers of a selection of important fish species and report any others not usually found in the area as part of this long-term monitoring of fish across the Victorian coast.

The Count has been running  since 2002, led by the Victorian National Parks Association in partnership with Museum Victoria, Parks Victoria, Coastcare Victoria, RedMap, local dive operators and local community groups.

The data collected is uploaded to the Atlas of Living Australia (an online store for biodiversity data, currently with over 67 million records) to improve our knowledge of Victoria’s marine species.

According to Phillip Wierzbowski, from Coastcare Victoria, the Great Victorian Fish Count is ‘an experience that not only contributes to citizen science while admiring the diversity of Victoria’s marine life, it is great fun too’.

The Great Victorian Fish Count is supported by the Victorian Government.

This year’s Great Victorian Fish Count is running 17 November until 16 December 2018 – it’s time to jump in the water now!

Victoria has some unique sharks and rays, most of which are harmless to humans, and an encounter with one can be the highlight of a dive or snorkel. That’s why this year’s count is focusing on these ‘friendly faces’ of our coastal waters and highlighting the vital role that sharks and rays play in maintaining healthy marine ecosystems. Divers and snorkellers are encouraged to look out for popular species such as the spotted wobbegong, smooth stingray and Port Jackson shark.

We hope to see more fish-lovers jumping into the water to take the dive that counts – together we can make the 14th year the biggest and best fish count ever!

Find a fish count event near you below!

To keep up to date with developments in this year’s event subscribe to ReefWatch updates at the bottom of this page.

The Great Victorian Fish Count is supported by the Victorian Government.

Interested in taking part this year? Check the list below to see if there’s an event for you.

Note that some events may already be at capacity – contact the host group for details on availability and how to register.

 

15 December

Location: Portsea Pier

Hosted by: Bayplay Adventure Tours

Start time: 10:00 am

Type: Snorkel – introduction to the Great Victorian Fish Count

Contact: [email protected] or 03 5984 0888

Beginner snorkellers are welcome.

 

Location: Portsea Pier

Hosted by: Bayplay Adventure Tours

Start time: 12:00 noon

Type: Snorkel – introduction to the Great Victorian Fish Count

Contact: [email protected] or 03 5984 0888

Beginner snorkellers are welcome.

 

Location: Rye Pier

Hosted by: Scuba Culture

Start time: 9:00 am

Type: Dive

Contact: (03) 9808 0033

Open to club members only

 

Location: Blairgowrie Yacht Squadron

Hosted by: Ocean Divers

Start time: 9:30 am

Type: Dive

Contact: [email protected]

Event link www.facebook.com/events/551592481960294/

 

Location: Cape Paterson

Hosted by: SEAL Diving Services

Start time: TBC

Type: Dive

Contact: (03) 5174 3434

 

Location: Castle Rock

Hosted by: Redboats

Start time: 12:00 pm (departs Portsea only)

Type: Dive

Contact: [email protected]

 

16 December

Location: Phillip Island

Hosted by: SEAL Diving Services

Start time: TBC

Type: Dive

Contact: (03) 5174 3434

 

Location: Harmers Haven

Hosted by: South Gippsland Conservation Society and Friends of Harmers Haven

Start time: 12:00 pm

Type: Snorkel

Contact: [email protected]

Family friendly event

 

The Great Victorian Fish Count is supported by the Victorian Government.

Download 2017 Report

The Great Victorian Fish Count continues to uncover the secret lives of fish living along our beautiful coastline, and with the target list of species expanding to include ten new and friendly shark and ray species, the 2017 Great Victorian Fish Count report is more exciting than ever.

Some of the highlights from 2017 include:

  • The smooth stingray recorded in nearly 50 per cent of surveys
  • The confirmed sighting of a white-barred boxfish in Port Phillip Bay suggests this species may be expanding its range into Victorian waters
  • The Blue Throat Wrasse continues to be the most commonly sighted species recorded in the highest abundance compared to any other species

Thank you to the 700 divers and snorkelers who took part in the 2017 Great Victorian Fish Count!

Previous reports

Download 2016 Report

Download 2015 Report