Oral Presentation Australian Society for Fish Biology Conference 2017

Reef Vision: Recreational fishers monitoring artificial reefs using baited remote underwater video systems. (#34)

James Florisson 1 , Andrew Rowland 1 , James Tweedley 2 , Michael Tropiano 1
  1. Recfishwest, Hillarys, WA, Australia
  2. Murdoch University, Murdoch, WA, Australia

With the deployment of artificial reefs there are legislative, social, environmental and ecological requirements to monitor the performance of these structures. While monitoring undertaken by governments and scientific organisations can be cost and time prohibitive, the use of citizen scientists’ can cost effectively gather large spatial and temporal data sets as well as grow the social values of participants. In South Western Australia, local fishers were used to monitor artificial reefs in a program called ‘Reef Vision’. This program developed innovative technology, methodologies and a suite of engagement and management tools to effectively utilise fishers as citizen scientists. Between 2015 and 2016, twenty volunteer recreational fishers deployed custom designed Baited Remote Underwater Video systems (BRUVs) on two artificial reefs in Geographe Bay, Western Australia. Footage collected by these citizen scientists was analysed to see variations in fish assemblages over time and between the reefs as a measure to determine the performance of the reefs. Over 150 hours of footage was collected on the reefs over a year period which resulted in the detection of over 34,000 individual fish from 69 species including 13 elasmobranchs. This successful citizen science model has been accepted as a valid monitoring method by the federal government and highlights the ability of fishers to collect data to assist research and monitoring.