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

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’.

There are now 6 artificial reefs across the state. You can read more about them by clicking here.

Recfishwest’s Reef Vision program is giving the WA fishing community a glimpse of the fish they are vying for while turning every day people into citizen scientists.

Our Reef Vision volunteers are passionate fishers, who 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.

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 cast a line for species such as pink snapper, dhufish and samson fish because that’s what the reefs were built for!

Due to its success and support from the fishing community, there are now 100 Reef Vision volunteers across the state who continue to support Reef Vision by volunteering their time and sending in their videos.

Recfishwest Research Officer and artificial reef specialist James Florisson says “the project is getting fishing communities engaged with science and our volunteers absolutely love it as its a form of fishing in itself. Traditional methods would have been cost prohibitive, so to have the community monitoring the reefs and producing rigorous ecological data is fantastic.”

If you would like to be involved in the Reef Vision program, please email steph@recfishwest.org.au

To see some more underwater footage of the reefs and some of the species calling them home, visit Artificial Reefs in WA.

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!