35 Victorian fish species (including 10 shark and ray species) are included in the Great Victorian Fish Count. Having a select number of “target” species helps us compare data from previous years. However, participants also have the chance to also record any non-target species they encounter when they upload their official results.
Fish Counting can be a bit tricky! While the dive slates used by participants feature beautiful, lifelike illustrations of the fish, including differences in the appearance of males, females and juveniles, seeing them in the field for the first time (especially if they’re quick-swimming) can make identifying them a bit daunting. We’ve put together a photo guide of the GVFC target species to help get your eye in before you dive in to a count.
The print quality pdf is available for download below.
Download GVFC Guide to the Fish Species (15 MB)
Need a smaller file size for Fish Counting on the go? Note: ID image quality is greatly reduced.
Download GVFC Guide to the Fish Species (2 MB)
We dove into the archives for this hidden gem – please enjoy this vintage video featuring beautiful footage from Mark Norman, Julian Finn and R Fenwick. Most of the feature fish in this video were chosen as target species for the Great Victorian Fish Count, and the same list of bony fishes we’ve been monitoring for over 10 years. Test your species ID skills and meet some of the friendly faces of our Great Southern Reef in time for the next GVFC!
There are many more fish to be found in Victorian waters than we have room for on our survey sheets! Here’s a short list of some of the more common “other” species noted during Great Victorian Fish Counts, along with images to help you identify them in the field.
Download Guide to Other Commonly Spotted Species (4 MB)
While it is not a target species of the Count, this photo of a White Barred Boxfish taken during a survey at the wreck of the Hurricane in Port Phillip Bay provides evidence that this fish is “on the move” 📷 Peter Beaumont/Atlas of Living Australia.
Many of the images are currently sourced from the wonderful Fishes of Australia, Atlas of Living Australia and iNaturalist Australia shared under a Creative Commons by Attribution Australia License. But we’d love to show off more photos from our own Fish Count community! If you’ve got a clear image of one of the species listed and you want to help our Fish Counters expand their knowledge of target species, you can share it with us at [email protected] .
While you don’t need an underwater camera to take part in a Fish Count survey, we strongly encourage anyone who can to take as many pictures of the target (and non target) species they encounter. This helps boost our confidence in the data as well as being essential for confirming a sighting of rare or unusual fish. Redmap Australia also needs your photos to verify reports of fish on the move due to changes in their environment. ReefWatch has several underwater cameras that can be loaned out to our community- if you’re interested, please contact us.
Another great resource for those wanting to boost their ID skills and contribute to our knowledge of Victoria’s underwater world is ReefWatch’s Marine Life of Victoria project on iNaturalist. Your photos will be verified by our community of experts, helping you learn as you go. You can upload photos from anytime (not just during the Fish Count), of any marine species you encounter in Victorian waters (not just fish!). Learn more about the project here.