Latest Camera Tech Offers Fisheries Great Data in Citizen Science Projects
A REEF diver operates the SMILE camera to measure fish length • Photo via REEF.org by Daryl Duda
Coral Reef Awareness Week 2023 takes place July 17 to 23. As an ocean heat wave threatens unprecedented ecosystem impact, citizen science data programs are now more crucial than ever. – Editor
Size matters – especially when it comes to fisheries management. A new collaborative project SMILE (Size Matters: Innovative Length Estimate) is now underway in the Florida Keys. The program helps collect information about fish lengths. These data are critical for fisheries stock assessments and are used to manage ecologically and economically important marine species. The SMILE project involves volunteer divers, innovative underwater camera technology, and citizen science to collect data for reef fish.
The REEF Volunteer Fish Survey Project works with trained recreational divers to create one of the largest citizen science-based marine life databases in the world. Through the use of stereo video technology, SMILE works as a companion to the REEF Volunteer Fish Survey Project. By leveraging trained REEF citizen scientist divers, this collaboration will provide valuable fish length data for fisheries stock assessments and ecosystem-based management.
Citizen science programs, such as REEF and SMILE, empower the public to generate monitoring data and promote active participation in resource management science.