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.

Caption: A Port Jackson shark- the face of the 2018 Fish Count. Photo by Jack Breedon

Last year’s Great Victorian Fish Count ran from 17 November until 16 December 2018 – and it was a record breaking event!

The 14th Great Victorian Fish Count saw over 750 people take part in 60 counts held throughout Victoria’s beautiful coastal waters. It was a phenomenal effort from everyone involved, with long-time supporters and first-time fish counters alike donning their fins and masks to collect a snapshot of fish diversity from Eastern Victoria, Western Victoria and within Port Phillip Bay.

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 2018’s count focused on these ‘friendly faces’ of our coastal waters, highlighting the vital role that sharks and rays play in maintaining healthy marine ecosystems. Divers and snorkellers were encouraged to look out for popular species such as the spotted wobbegong, smooth stingray and Port Jackson shark, and shared their encounters with the community!

The report for 2018 is available for download below.

The next Great Victorian Fish Count will be held from 16 November until 15 December 2018. Check out the 2019 Fish Count events for a list of registered survey dates and locations. We hope to see more fish-lovers jumping into the water to take the dive that counts – together we can make 2019 the biggest and best fish count ever!

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.

 

Registered Fish Count survey events are listed below. Check them out to see when and where your local site will be counted.

Please note: to register as a participant in any of the Fish Count surveys listed below, contact the host group directly.

Public events are open to anyone with the appropriate skills/qualifications, members only/closed events require club membership to attend.

Start times are indicative and need to be confirmed with host group. You may need to arrive earlier for registration, gear-up and briefings.

All Fish Count surveys are subject to weather and host groups may choose to reschedule/cancel events if conditions are unsuitable.

 

16 November

Location: Rye

Hosted by: Scuba Culture

Start time: 9:00 am

Type: Dive

Contact: 9808 0033

 

19 November

Location: Lakes Entrance

Hosted by: Friends of Beware Reef

Start time: TBC

Type: Dive

Closed event

 

20 November

Location: Flinders Pier

Hosted by: Aquatic Adventures

Start time: 6:00 pm

Type: Dive

Contact: [email protected], 03 9755 5688

Public event https://www.facebook.com/events/415865762646924/

 

Location: Eagle Rock Marine Sanctuary- Aireys Inlet

Hosted by: Friends of Eagle Rock Marine Sanctuary and Parks Victoria

Start time: 11:00 am

Type: Snorkel (experienced snorkelers only, conditions can be challenging)

Public event. Register with ParkConnect https://www.parkconnect.vic.gov.au/Volunteer/public-planned-activity/?id=3e7496b3-3eea-e911-a812-000d3ad1c8fb

 

23 November

Location: Blairgowrie Pier

Hosted by: Dive2U

Start time: 1:00 pm

Type: Dive and snorkel

Contact: [email protected], 0409 411 299

Public event https://www.facebook.com/events/2477848232250442/

 

Location: Ricketts Point Marine Sanctuary, Teahouse Reef

Hosted by: Marine Care Ricketts Point

Start time: 9:00 am

Type: Snorkel

Contact: [email protected]

Members only

 

Location: Rye

Hosted by: Scuba Culture

Start time: 9:00 am

Type: Dive

Contact: 9808 0033

 

24 November

Location: Rye Pier

Hosted by: VNPA’s Wild Families/Dive2U

Time: 10:00 am and 12:00 pm

Type: Snorkel

Contact: [email protected], 0409 411 299

This is a Wild Families event

 

Location: Warrnambool

Hosted by: Daktari Surf/Bike/Dive Warrnambool

Start time: 10:00 am

Type: Dive

Contact: [email protected][email protected] , 0490673680

Public event (must bring certification card and log book) – registrations close 2 days prior

Sites may vary depending on sea conditions

 

Location: Shack Bay

Hosted by: South Gippsland Conservation Society/Bunurong Coast Education

Start time: 2:30 pm

Type: Snorkel

Contact: Rod Webster, 0434 145 816, [email protected]

Public event

 

30 November

Location: Rye Pier

Hosted by: Aquatic Adventures

Start time: 12:00 pm

Type: Dive

Contact: [email protected], 03 9755 5688

Public event https://www.facebook.com/events/1780280878940137/

 

Location: Flinders

Hosted by: Ocean Divers

Start time: 9:00 am

Type: Dive and snorkel (must have experience with Melbourne conditions)

Contact: [email protected], 03 9579 2600

Public event https://www.facebook.com/events/346244972851944/

 

Location: Portland

Hosted by: Daktari Surf/Bike/Dive Warrnambool

Start time: 10:00 am

Type: Dive

Contact: [email protected][email protected] , 0490673680

Public event (must bring certification card and log book) – registrations close 2 days prior

Sites may vary depending on sea conditions

 

Location: Mushroom Reef Marine Sanctuary- Flinders

Hosted by: Friends of Mushroom Reef Marine Sanctuary and Parks Victoria

Start time: 9:00 am

Type: Snorkel

Public event. Register with ParkConnect https://www.parkconnect.vic.gov.au/Volunteer/public-planned-activity/?id=b153f69f-a6d2-e911-a812-000d3ad1cf6f

 

Location: Point Cooke Marine Sanctuary

Hosted by: Marine Care Point Cooke and Parks Victoria

Start time: 11:00 am TBC

Type: Snorkel

Contact: [email protected], [email protected]

Open to members of Marine Care Point Cooke and Jawbone Marine Sanctuary Care Group. Register with ParkConnect https://www.parkconnect.vic.gov.au/Volunteer/public-planned-activity/?id=80755a9f-8af4-e911-a813-000d3ad199e2

 

Location: Rye

Hosted by: Scuba Culture

Start time: 9:00 am

Type: Dive

Contact: 9808 0033

 

1 December

Location: Rye Pier

Hosted by: Academy of Scuba

Start time: 9:00 am

Type: Dive

Contact: [email protected], 03 9889 9952

 

Location: Barwon Bluff Marine Sanctuary

Hosted by: Friends of the Bluff and Parks Victoria

Start time: 9:00 am

Type: Snorkel

Public event. Register with ParkConnect https://www.parkconnect.vic.gov.au/Volunteer/public-planned-activity/?id=b1ed5bef-69f0-e911-a812-000d3ad1c0c9

 

3 December

Location: Lakes Entrance

Hosted by: Friends of Beware Reef

Start time: TBC

Type: Dive

Closed event

 

7 December

Location: Portsea

Hosted by: VNPA/Bayplay

Time: 10:00 am and 12:00 pm

Type: Snorkel

Contact: 03 5984 0888

This is a VNPA “For Beginners” event

 

Location: Blairgowrie Pier

Hosted by: Academy of Scuba

Start time: 9:00 am

Type: Dive

Contact: [email protected], 03 9889 9952

 

Location: Port Campbell

Hosted by: Daktari Surf/Bike/Dive Warrnambool

Start time: 10:00 am

Type: Dive

Contact: [email protected][email protected] , 0490673680

Public event (must bring certification card and log book) – registrations close 2 days prior

Sites may vary depending on sea conditions

 

Location: St Leonard’s Pier

Hosted by: Eco Connect Holistic Environmental Solutions

Start time: 1:00 pm

Type: Dive

Contact: [email protected]

 

Location: St Leonard’s Pier

Hosted by: Eco Connect Holistic Environmental Solutions

Start time: 6:00 pm

Type: Dive

Contact: [email protected]

 

Location: Wreck Beach, Harmers Haven

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

Start time: 12:00 pm

Type: Snorkel

Contact: Rod Webster, 0434 145 816, [email protected]

Public event

 

8 December

Location: Port Fairy

Hosted by: Daktari Surf/Bike/Dive Warrnambool

Start time: 10:00 am

Type: Dive

Contact: [email protected][email protected] , 0490673680

Public event (must bring certification card and log book) – registrations close 2 days prior

Sites may vary depending on sea conditions

 

Location: Rye Pier

Hosted by: Dive and Dive

Start time: 2:00 pm

Type: Dive

Contact: [email protected], 03 9769 0145

 

Location: St Leonard’s Pier

Hosted by: Eco Connect Holistic Environmental Solutions

Start time: 1:00 pm

Type: Dive

Contact: [email protected]

 

Location: St Leonard’s Pier

Hosted by: Eco Connect Holistic Environmental Solutions

Start time: 6:00 pm

Type: Dive

Contact: ecoconne[email protected]

 

11 December

Location: Lakes Entrance

Hosted by: Friends of Beware Reef

Start time: TBC

Type: Dive

Closed event

 

14 December

Location: Point Nepean

Hosted by: WaterMaarq

Start time: 8:30 am

Type: Snorkel

Public event

 

Location: Jawbone Marine Sanctuary, Williamstown

Hosted by: Jawbone Marine Sanctuary Care Group

Start time: 9:00 am

Type: Snorkel

Latest report

Download 2018 Report

Thank you to all the divers and snorkelers who took part in the 2018 Great Victorian Fish Count- the biggest count to date!

Some of the highlights from 2018 include:

  • All of the shark and ray species, with the exception of the elephantfish, added to the count in 2017 have now been sighted
  • The Port Jackson shark was recorded in 11 per cent of surveys
  • Eastern blue gropers were recorded in 3 out of 4 surveys in their known range, and western blue gropers were also sighted in a small number of surveys
  • The blue throat wrasse continues to be the most commonly sighted species recorded in the highest abundance compared to any other species, although the magpie perch came a very close second

 

Previous reports

Download 2017 Report

Download 2016 Report

Download 2015 Report