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The Rockfish
Abundance Survey

Credit: Donna Gibbs

Annual Rockfish
Abundance Survey

If you SCUBA dive with a video camera and capture video of rockfish then it’s easy for you to participate in our Rockfish Abundance Survey, which runs annually from August to October. Through this diver survey we collect data that can help us determine how many rockfish there are, where they live and how this information might change over time. Participating in this survey can be as easy as just sending us your dive videos, we will identify and count the rockfish for you. Or, if you are good at identifying the fish yourself you can fill out the survey sheet. 

Start by reading the instructions


How The Survey Began

Conservation of B.C.’s inshore rockfish species is a serious matter owing to the slow maturation, longevity and small home territories of these fishes. They are all too easy to catch, and are still a target of poachers. In 2007, Fisheries and Oceans Canada finalized a total of 164 Rockfish Conservation Areas in B.C., to aid the recovery of B.C.’s inshore rockfish species. By surveying rockfish along the B.C. coast inside and outside of these RCAs, we can monitor and continue to ensure these species thrive. 

Between A Rock
And A Hard Place

Recent research findings by the Vancouver Aquarium’s Howe Sound dive team indicate that, in B.C., some rockfish hide deep in rock piles during winter. With this in mind, the rockfish abundance survey is best conducted in summer and early fall. Late summer typically has good visibility and the rockfish tend to be hovering well above their rocky home sites. Consequently, this years Rockfish Abundance Survey is being conducted from August-October. 

Hiding Rockfish
Black Rockfish

Rockfish Conservation
At The Aquarium

Rockfish are an important part of B.C.’s ocean ecosystem. However, they’re easy targets for fishermen, as they naturally don’t move far from their home territories. The Aquarium team has been working to establish black rockfish where they were once abundant along the shoreline of West Vancouver. They had been fished out in the 1960s, but signs are emerging that our black rockfish transplants have successfully bred new generations in 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2010. As previously mentioned, the Howe Sound team is also monitoring a population of copper rockfish year round to better understand the winter hiding behaviour that has been observed over the past 7 years. 


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