Recfishwest’s citizen science project Reef Vision is giving the WA fishing community a glimpse of the fish they are vying for. But at the same time, they are also contributing to important science research.
Recfishwest’s Reef Vision Program began in 2015 on the South West Artificial Reefs, to ensure the reefs are enhancing fish habitat and fishing opportunities.
With recent artificial reef installations off the WA coast, scientists have been monitoring the colonisation of them and any changes to the fish community.
Artificial Reefs in Western Australia have been a product of community drive and passion, with local fishers and fishing clubs pushing for reef installations; transforming areas devoid of bottom structure and habitat to underwater ‘forests’.
Reef Vision volunteers contribute to the program by deploying Baited Remote Underwater Video systems (BRUVs) from their boats to collect underwater footage of Artificial Reefs. BRUVs are a custom-built weighted frame that includes a small action camera and bait bag, and is attached by a rope to a buoy on the surface. Footage is then analysed by Recfishwest as well as partnering universities and schools.
There are currently 30 trained and active recreational fishers in Bunbury and Dunsborough who continue to support Reef Vision by volunteering their time and sending in their videos.
Not only are volunteers collecting important data to help better understand Artificial Reefs in WA, it’s also encouraged the volunteers have a fish while they’re out on the reefs and casting around for species such as Pink Snapper, Dhufish and Samson Fish is what the reefs were built for!