The Great Annual Fish Count at Biscayne National Park

Snorkelers on Elkhorn Coral in Biscayne National Park

Snorkelers on Elkhorn Coral in Biscayne National Park. NPS photo.

Do you like to scuba dive or snorkel? Can you count? Maybe you'd like to be part of the Great Annual Fish Count at Biscayne National Park in Florida. It will be held on Saturday, July 25.

Biscayne National Park and its concessioner, in cooperation with the Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF) is hosting the Great Annual Fish Count, an annual event that seeks to inspire recreational divers and snorkelers to aid scientists in monitoring fish populations around the world.

Biscayne is a fine location for the event—the park offers superb opportunities for diving and snorkeling, and has over 500 species of fish. Don't let that intimidate you. Participants aren't expected to be experts in fish identification.

The local event will commence at 8:00 a.m. in the park's auditorium with a free reef fish identification seminar and an introduction to the fun and easy survey methods. The afternoon session, 12:00 noon to 5:00 p.m., will be dedicated to putting new skills to use on a specially-priced dive/snorkel trip to the park's reef sites.

Great Annual Fish Count participants at Biscayne National Park must register by contacting Biscayne National Park's concessioner at 305-230-100 to reserve a place on the boat. The discounted price for the 2-tank dive trip is just $65.00 per diver (tanks and weights included) and $23.75 for snorkelers (mask, fins, and snorkel rental are included).

All other gear must be provided by the participant or rented separately. Call the park's concessioner at 305-230-100 to reserve rental gear, as quantities are limited.

A REEF survey kit, which includes a special underwater slate, fish identification guide, and required survey forms is available for $10.00.

Biscayne's auditorium is located in the Dante Fascell Visitor Center at 9700 SW 328th Street in Homestead, Florida. Driving directions are available on the park's website, or by calling the park Visitor Information line at 305-230-PARK (7275), extension 0.