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Great Victorian Fish Count

Every November and December, hundreds of divers and snorkelers plunge into the water to take part in the biggest citizen-science event on Victoria’s marine calendar, the Great Victorian Fish Count. Armed with a dive slate, they record the numbers of a selection of important fish species and report any others not usually found in the area as part of this long-term monitoring of fish across the Victorian coast. The Count has been running since 2002, led by the Victorian National Parks Association in partnership with Museum Victoria, Parks Victoria, Coastcare Victoria, RedMap, local dive operators and local community groups.


GVFC — Shack Bay, November 2019

GVFS Shack Bay

We had a successful count in challenging conditions. Weather was good, water cold and swell was quite high, creating difficult conditions and poor visibility off-shore. Nevertheless we had 24 people in the water, many first-time participants. Great to have divers from Rickets Point Marine Sanctuary, Halston in Gippsland and some local youth.

As in the past, Ash Belsar's Outthere Outdoor Ed supervised our snorkelers, the majority of whom were restricted to inshore protected waters. Special thanks also to experienced local divers, Neil Duncan and Steve Dunn who provided valuable support and advice.

We failed to observe the range of species typical of past events, related mostly to covering less territory, but with good visibility close to shore numerous Wrasse, Zebra Fish and small sweep along with abundant and varied algae made the exercise worthwhile. It truly is a gorgeous spot! No resident Eagle Rays observed this year but a Draughtboard shark was sighted. Only a single specimen of this year's iconic fish, the beautiful ornate Cowfish, was observed, however participants certainly were impressed with their VNPA provided t-shirts which featured this extraordinary species.

As in other years, participants and friends enjoyed the BBQ and collating session. It provides an opportunity for the telling of many diving exploits and experiences. We should be so thankful to have the superb waters and marine life of the Bunurong Marine National Park so readily available to us.

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Wrasse.jpg Wrasse

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Images: Rod Webster