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 2020 Great Victorian Fish Count will be held from 14 November until 13 December. Watch this space for updates on events.
We all know that we need to continue to protect our community as we return to face-to-face outdoor activities. Participating groups will need to ensure that they are adhering to current COVID-19 restrictions as they apply to their region (see www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au). All participants should practice appropriate social distancing and hygiene (e.g. keeping at least 1.5 m or one fully grown Western Blue Groper apart from others) during Fish Count activities.
The Great Victorian Fish Count is supported by the Victorian Government.