Citizen Science

Just because you’re not a scientist, doesn’t mean you can’t contribute to science.

Good science is based on good data, and there’s no better community to contribute to good fisheries management than the recreational fishing community.

Fishers are on the water all over Western Australia and can contribute in many ways from fish tagging to artificial reef monitoring to simply dropping off your fish skeletons after a days fishing.

Find out how you can get involved below.

Reef Vision

Recfishwest is casting out for red-hot keen boat fishers who want to be part of the the marine citizen science program, Reef Vision – the first of its kind in the world.

We’re looking for more volunteers to join the ever-growing and valuable Reef Vision team and help catch valuable footage of the state’s artificial reefs while out fishing.

The Reef Vision Program is made up of passionate fishers from the recreational fishing community who assist Recfishwest map and monitor the growth and development of these fish habitat-enhancement structures in Esperance, Dunsborough, Busselton, Mandurah and Exmouth.

The State’s artificial reefs program driven by Recfishwest, has been developed to provide great fishing opportunities relatively close to shore allowing small boat owners the chance to have better fishing experiences.

Each Reef Vision volunteer is given a BRUV (Baited Remote Underwater Video) camera, and training on how to set up, deploy and retrieve the equipment.

The volunteers drop the cameras near to the reef on their way to their fishing spot and record an hour of video footage of the artificial reefs. This footage is later analysed by Recfishwest, university researchers and students to see what fish are using the reefs and helping us to understand the benefits of artificial reefs and the fish that call them home.

To date, Reef Vision volunteers have collected hundreds of hours of valuable footage from the six artificial reefs monitored in the reef vision program identifying hundreds of different species including dhufish, Samson fish, baldchin groper, pink snapper and large schools of mulloway and red emperor, Rankin cod, queenfish and blue bone.

“I love my fishing here in WA and being part of Reef Vision gives me the chance to give something back. It’s also really cool to see what’s going on down there – there are some amazing things you see” said Reef Vision volunteer Garry Dyer.

Recfishwest’s Research Officer Steph Watts said, “We need to know what’s happening on these reefs, and it’s even more important that the volunteers are enjoying their time collecting the footage for us.

“They’re the backbone of Reef Vision, and we can’t thank them enough,”

Fishers who might be interested in participating and want to know more are asked to email steph@recfishwest.org.au.

 

Fish Tagging

Many fishers want to do more for the fish they catch. Right around Australia, recreational fishers have been involved in plenty of tagging projects from samson fish, black bream, barramundi, mulloway and big bill fish such as sailfish and marlin.

Understanding more about our fisheries is vital in ensuring there’s fish for the future and that they can be managed sustainably.

Want to get into fish tagging? Visit the Westag website here.

Send in Your Skeletons

You can play a key part in WA fisheries science by donating your fish skeletons to help with the long-term monitoring program of fish stocks.

To donate your frames:

  • label them with your name and address (so Fisheries can send you research feedback);
  • the date of your capture; and
  • the location of your capture (in the case of a shore catch, the general location; in the case of a boat catch, the latitude/longitude or distance and bearing from port and the name of the port).

Note: information you provide about the location of your catch is confidential.

You can drop off your fish frames at Fisheries offices and participating stores. The frames can be frozen, so you can collect a few before dropping them off.

For more on the ‘Send Us Your Skeletons’ program, click here.

Red Map

Redmap stands for Range Extension Database and Mapping project. This project invites Australians to share sightings of marine species that are ‘uncommon’ to their local seas. Over time, Redmap will use this ‘citizen science’ data to map which Australian marine species may be extending their distribution range – a.k.a moving house – in response to changes in the marine environment, such as ocean warming.

Redmap members use their knowledge of the seas to help monitor Australia’s vast coastline. The citizen science data also highlights regions and species that may be experiencing more  distribution changes,  so that research can be focused into these areas.

REDMAP invites the Australian community to spot, log and map marine species that are uncommon along particular parts of our coast. Click here check it out!