Great Annual Fish Count: One fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish

The Great Annual Fish Count is an event that takes place across the world every year during the month of July.  It is organized by REEF to help get people in the water and counting fish.  This year another intern and I took the lead on this project for the Florida Keys and coordinated a fish ID talk and dive.  REEF cannot do what we do best and preserve the oceans without the help of citizen scientists.  This is why we try to spread the idea of doing fish surveys to as many people we can.  As I mentioned in one of my other blogs, volunteer fish surveys are one of the main projects at REEF.  It is actually pretty easy and anyone interested can partake with the right training.  We use a roving diver technique, which means that the diver does a regular dive and while they are swimming around they write down all the fish they see and their abundance.  For the Great Annual Fish Count, we hosted a fish ID class where we taught the public about the most common fish here in Key Largo, Florida.  REEF is a worldwide organization and we do surveys in every ocean.  For Florida, however, we are grouped into the Tropical Western Atlantic or TWA.  After we taught everyone about their fish, we set up a day to go out on a dive boat where we provided underwater paper, slates and pencils to anyone interested in doing a survey. We had a great turn out, with many people interest in doing a survey and learning about REEF.  I loved being able to see people getting as excited about fish ID as I am.  There was a father out diving with his two sons and it made my day watching them point to a fish and swim over to me and ask me what it was.  After I told them their eyes would light up and they would quickly check it off their list. I am glad that so many people were interested in going out and preserving our reefs.

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Just doing my surveys

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