KEY LARGO, Florida Keys -- The Reef Environmental Education Foundation is set to hold the 17th Great Annual Fish Count Saturday, July 19, in Key Largo.
The Great Annual Fish Count is an international eco-event where volunteer divers and snorkelers assist in identifying and documenting fish diversity and population trends. The numbers are used by marine researchers, resource managers and policy makers to help them assess the condition of the reef ecosystem.
At 9 a.m. Saturday, July 19, a fish identification class with Joe Cavanaugh, director of field operations for REEF, is scheduled at Horizon Divers, 100 Ocean Drive, mile marker 99.7 in Key Largo. There is no charge for the class. Tally sheets for the fish count are to be distributed during the class.
With their newly learned fish ID skills, divers and snorkelers can collect data that will be aggregated with counts from around the world, adding to the 117,677 surveys already submitted for research. After the fish ID class, Horizon Divers is to host a Great Annual Fish Count dive with Cavanaugh the same day. Boats are to leave the dock at 1:30 p.m. There is no additional charge to participate in the fish count, and Horizon Divers is offering a 10 percent discount off the cost of the dive charter and rental equipment.
REEF encourages divers to conduct fish count surveys year-round. Divers can organize their own fish count dives individually, with a dive operator or through a dive club. To get free scan forms and information about marine survey materials, visit www.reef.org. Survey results also can be reported online.
For more information and reservations, contact REEF headquarters at (305) 852-0030, ext. 1, or call Horizon Divers at (305) 453-3535.