I am super excited to be on my way to St. Lucia with REEF.org on December 5 in order to do Fish Surveys. REEF: Reef Environmental Education Foundation is a grass-roots organization that seeks to conserve marine ecosystems by educating, enlisting and enabling divers and other marine enthusiasts to become active ocean stewards and citizen scientists. I have contributed data to their database for many years, on and off, but this will be my first opportunity to actually meet other, and very active, members of REEF.
REEF has three main projects: the Grouper Moon Project in the Cayman Islands, the Lionfish Project, and the REEF Volunteer Fish Survey Project. The Nassau Grouper is a Caribbean icon but was reaching very low numbers. The project began by witnessing a spawning event in the Caymans, but has now grown to educational efforts, tagging, and study. I saw a Nassau Grouper in Cozumel during October…I had not seen one for many years, so I was overjoyed. Lionfish are an invasive species in the Atlantic and the Caribbean, and REEF has programs to try to minimize this fact, including Lionfish Derbies to remove them. Lionfish are actually quite tasty, and hopefully more and more people will begin to fish for, and eat, the Lionfish.
I have been entering data to REEF’s Volunteer Fish Project Survey for many years. I confess I don’t always do it when I dive in the waters they survey, but it is imperative to get population numbers right, so if I am immersed in another project or in photography, I don’t keep track. I have wanted to go on one of REEF’s sponsored trips for years, and now I am getting my wish! Diving vacations that matter! I will post photos and blog from our base in St. Lucia, a place I have never visited. Exciting!
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Tags: caribbean, citizen science, diving, diving vacations that matter, featured, fish, fish ID, fish surveys, pitons, reef, scuba, scuba diving, st lucia, tam warner minton, travels with tam, west indies