The Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF) will launch the 19th Great Annual Fish Count (GAFC) with an open house and presentation at its headquarters in Key Largo, Florida Tuesday July 12th at 6:30 PM.
Since 1992, REEF and the NOAA National Marine Sanctuaries Program have partnered during the month of July to organize a series of public events to train and inspire snorkelers and scuba divers to become citizen scientists and document fish diversity and population trends. GAFC survey data are added to that collected through the year-round REEF Volunteer Fish Survey Project. These combined efforts have resulted in one of the largest and most comprehensive marine life datasets in the world with over 150,000 surveys completed.
REEF kicked off this year’s GAFC events with their annual Vandenberg monitoring surveys in Key West. REEF staff and members of the Advanced Assessment Survey Team spent the week of June 27th-July 1st monitoring fish species and abundances on the ex-military tracking ship and other area artificial and natural reef ecosystems.
REEF’s next “Fish & Friends,” a monthly seminar series held at REEF HQ at mm 98, will feature the Great Annual Fish Count. The event will be held on July 12th from 6:30 to 8:00 PM. Following a half hour social, Alecia Adamson, REEF Outreach Coordinator, will give some background information on GAFC and REEF before presenting some of her favorite local fish and how to positively identify them.
Several local dive shops who serve as REEF Fieldstations will also host Fish ID workshops and survey dives throughout the month. These events will consist of morning Fish Identification seminars and afternoon survey dives on local reefs.
· Quiescence Diving, July 13th
· Horizon Divers, July 16th & 27th
· SilentWorld, July 17th
More information about these and other events, including registry info, can be found on the Great Annual Fish Count website, www.fishcount.org.