Sine. A. and J. K. Gaydos. 2004. Volunteer fish and invertebrate surveys: what makes recreational SCUBA divers want to participate?. Proceedings of the 2005 Puget Sound Georgia Basin Research Conference, Seattle, Washington.
Type: Technical report or proceeding
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Monitoring of species abundance, composition and distribution is essential for management and conservation of regional marine fish and invertebrate populations. The Reef Environmental Education Foundation’s Fish Survey Project promotes resource stewardship and helps support more rigorous scientific monitoring by enabling recreational SCUBA divers to survey for fish and invertebrate presence and abundance while diving. As volunteer survey effort increases, so does the value of these data. To solicit ideas for increasing voluntary survey efforts in the region we queried certified SCUBA divers to determine what motivated and prevented people from conducting Fish Survey Project surveys. We received 395 completed questionnaires. An interest in becoming more familiar with local species was cited as the number one reason for participation by people who had previously conducted fish and invertebrate surveys as well as for people who had never performed them but were interested. People who had never performed a SCUBA survey and were not interested in doing so indicated that their lack of confidence in identifying fish and invertebrates was the number one reason, but most indicated that free fish and invertebrate identification classes would change their mind. These data suggest that a focused advertising campaign and free fish and invertebrate identification classes are probably the best ways to solicit more recreational SCUBA divers to perform fish and invertebrate surveys in the Puget Sound Georgia Basin region.