Jonathan Bird filmed an episode of his PBS show at the 2012 GAFC. You can view it on the Blue World Website
The GAFC was featured in an article in May 2012 issue of New England Diving News. Click here to view the full page story!
The Gloucester Times did a great story on the 2009 event, view it here
The 13th Annual GAFC will be held on July 26th, 2014!
Coming back for the 13th year in a row, you can help count fish and win prizes! Each year divers help researchers by surveying fish populations. This is done by identifying what fish you see on a dive. After the dive, we gather at Stage Fort Park in Gloucester, for raffle prizes and a BBQ!
Register for the GAFC
You must register in order to be eligible for the raffle prizes. Each diver must register individually
How the GAFC Works
On the morning of the event, participants go for a dive, swim, etc and pay attention to what fish they see and how many there are. Then, after the dive we meet at Stage Fort Park and eat some great food while we fill out a survey of what we saw on each dive. Experts are on hand to help identify any confusing species.
At lunch, each participant gets a raffle ticket, and afterwards a drawing is held for prizes that range from diving vacations to scuba masks
What is the Great Annual Fish Count?
How many people attend the event?
2009 was our largest event with 119 divers, who submitted 140 total surveys, but a typical year is around 90-100 divers. We are consistantly the largest single-day REEF fish count event in the country, even beating out warm-water destinations like Florida and Hawaii. Divers typically bring their families so actual number of attendees is much higher.
Do I have to be an expert to identify fish?
No. We use a REEF ciriculum to help identify common species using easy-to-remember markings. It is an easy to learn, fun survey method, developed for use with volunteer divers. Basic identification skills are all that are needed. REEF, the NEADC and other clubs hold training seminars online and in person throughout the year, and there are plenty of opportunites to brush up on your skills.
No. While the GAFC is a great time to get new divers involved in fish counting and to raise the public's awareness of the marine environment and volunteer activities, we need data year round. Once you learn the skills, the survey forms are online, and you can count fish on every dive.
What happens to the data that volunteers collect?
Once survey information is submitted online to REEF, the data are processed via REEF's standardized data management and quality control protocols and then are uploaded into a centralized database that is available on REEF's website. In addition to use by the general and diving public, the data are available to scientists and resource managers. Click here to view some examples
2013 Prize listLast year we had $5,804.64 in prizes, including the Grand prize. Check out last year's recap for details
Participants need to have a REEF Member # prior to the day of the event. A REEF member # is required in order to do a survey and then hand it in to get a raffle ticket. The process is painless:
Most dives begin at 8 am, with Maine dives starting at 7am. Sites with Coordinators are listed below, Sign up using our form before July 1st to sign up for a dive. If there are any questions, email Joy Marzolf.
Be sure to fill out the liability waiver and bring it to your dive. The site coordinator will collect them.
Cape Ann dives begin at 8 am, and Maine dives start at 8:30am.
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