This month REEF is proud to highlight SeaDoc Society, one of our outstanding Conservation Partners. REEF Conservation Partners are active organization and dive shops committed to protecting marine environments worldwide. As valued REEF ambassadors, they serve as centers for marine conservation actions, outreach, and education. You can view the full listing of Conservation Partners or register your organization as a REEF Conservation Partner here.
In what ways does SeaDoc Society participate with REEF’s main programs?
Prior to the launch of REEF's Fishinar program in 2011, SeaDoc Society sponsored in-person REEF classes on fish and invertebrate ID. Each year since 2013, SeaDoc Society has partnered wth REEF to conduct an annual monitoring project in the Salish Sea. The Salish Sea is a transboundary bi-national ecosystem shared by the US and Canada, and each year the project location alternates between the San Juan Islands in the US and the Gulf Islands in Canada. Each year the survey team includes members of REEF's Pacific Northwest Advanced Assessment Team (AAT). Each year 100+ surveys are gathered during the AAT project, held in September/October. In 2019, the project expanded to include another location in the Salish Sea - Hornby Island off of Vancouver Island in British Columbia.
We have also worked with REEF to use Volunteer Fish Survey Project data to better understand changes in fish and invertebrates in the region. REEF data have been critical for helping us understand the impact of sea star wasting disease on various echinoderms and the ecosystem. We are currently comparing fish presence and abundance as collected by REEF divers compared to traditional fisheries techniques. The robust REEF survey community in the Salish Sea can help us track changes faster than more traditional methods, but we need to determine which fish REEF surveyors can and cannot track, due to subtle differences between species that make visual identification nearly impossible.
What other actions do you take to promote marine conservation?
We strongly promote REEF to recreational SCUBA and free divers in the region and financially support the annual AAT surveys. We also promote the REEF database to local scientists who don’t know about it, but could benefit from using it in their work.
How can REEF members get involved with your dive shop/organization?
SeaDoc does not have a volunteer program, but anybody who wants to learn more about the Salish Sea ecosystem or what diving in the Salish Sea is like can visit our website, www.seadocsociety.org or check out our book The Salish Sea: Jewel of the Pacific Northwest, available on Amazon. You also can enjoy our YouTube series, Salish Sea Wild, which features numerous underwater adventures, as well as an entire episode on the REEF program. Click here for more about the REEF-focused episode.