Presentation Abstract

Rockfish are a long-lived group of fishes susceptible to overfishing. Rockfish conservation initiatives are currently hindered by a lack of fine scale population data. However, the abundance of recreational divers represents an untapped resource, ready to be deployed as citizen scientists in the Salish Sea. A potential issue is that the reliability of citizen scientist-generated SCUBA data is not known, particularly when those data are collected across gradients of diver competencies and diving conditions. To evaluate the reliability of citizen science data, pairs of divers of varying levels of experience identified and enumerated the number of individual finfish along predetermined transects. Divers also provided information about their competency (including diving experience, training and fish identification ability). The finfish counts, environmental conditions of each dive, and diver competency data were then analyzed to illuminate which elements significantly contribute to data reliability. As expected, diver competency is an important predictor of data quality, however, Scientific Diver certification under the Canadian Association of Underwater Science does not predict data quality. This finding, among others, provides important and actionable guidance for ensuring data quality in citizen science scuba survey programs and their use for long term monitoring of marine species of conservation concern such as Rockfish.

Session Title

Recovery and Monitoring for ESA-listed Rockfish and Habitats in the Salish Sea

Conference Track

SSE11: Species and Food Webs

Conference Name

Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference (Seattle, WA : 2018)

Document Type

Event

SSEC Identifier

SSE11-118

Start Date

4-4-2018 4:00 PM

End Date

4-4-2018 4:15 PM

Type of Presentation

Oral

Contributing Repository

Digital content made available by University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Geographic Coverage

Salish Sea (B.C. and Wash.)

Rights

This resource is displayed for educational purposes only and may be subject to U.S. and international copyright laws. For more information about rights or obtaining copies of this resource, please contact University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA 98225-9103, USA (360-650-7534; heritage.resources@wwu.edu) and refer to the collection name and identifier. Any materials cited must be attributed to the Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference Records, University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Type

text

Language

English

Format

application/pdf

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Apr 4th, 4:00 PM Apr 4th, 4:15 PM

Can sport SCUBA divers provide reliable data for Rockfish conservation?

Rockfish are a long-lived group of fishes susceptible to overfishing. Rockfish conservation initiatives are currently hindered by a lack of fine scale population data. However, the abundance of recreational divers represents an untapped resource, ready to be deployed as citizen scientists in the Salish Sea. A potential issue is that the reliability of citizen scientist-generated SCUBA data is not known, particularly when those data are collected across gradients of diver competencies and diving conditions. To evaluate the reliability of citizen science data, pairs of divers of varying levels of experience identified and enumerated the number of individual finfish along predetermined transects. Divers also provided information about their competency (including diving experience, training and fish identification ability). The finfish counts, environmental conditions of each dive, and diver competency data were then analyzed to illuminate which elements significantly contribute to data reliability. As expected, diver competency is an important predictor of data quality, however, Scientific Diver certification under the Canadian Association of Underwater Science does not predict data quality. This finding, among others, provides important and actionable guidance for ensuring data quality in citizen science scuba survey programs and their use for long term monitoring of marine species of conservation concern such as Rockfish.