MBNMS: The Great Annual Fish Count
Fish counting is rapidly becoming a favorite pastime for recreational divers and snorkelers. The Great American Fish Count provides a fun, non-invasive and educational activity that promotes stewardship of our fragile underwater environment.
This annual event began in June 1992, when a small group of recreational divers conducted a standardized fish census to increase public awareness of the diversity and condition of fish populations. Modeling their efforts after the annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count, some 50 volunteers, accompanied by National Park Service marine biologists, identified 27 species and counted 4,804 fishes near Anacapa Island, California. Now coordinated by Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF), organizers conduct similar fish counts every year in other areas aournd the country. REEF mobilizes and trains volunteer divers and snorkelers to identify and document fish diversity and population trends in marine ecosystems. This annual event takes place the month of July, and serves to introduce and inspire recreational divers and snorkelers to: participate in REEF's year-round Volunteer Survey Project; raise awareness among both the diving community and public-at-large regarding marine habitats and trends in fish populations; and provide researchers, marine resource managers and policy makers with this useful information that would otherwise be unavailable.
Visit the Great Annual Fish Count Website or
last modified 03/10/13