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.


Reef Vision

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!

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 our long-term monitoring program of fish stocks.

Also known as ‘frames’, filleted skeletons, with the heads and guts intact, are essential for us to be able to assess the status of our fish resources. By analysing data from the frames we can make science-based decisions to sustainably manage our fisheries.

By donating your frames before July 1, you could also win a number of prizes thanks to the generosity of our supporters.

To donate your frames:

  • label them with your name and address (so we 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 our 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!