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Port Phillip Bay 7-12th Feb 2012

March 2, 2012 by  

After 4 years of enduring winter surveys in Port Phillip Bay, the RLS team had the luxury of trialling a summer survey trip… or so they thought!  It turns out the Victorian summer isn’t all that crash hot either!  The small crew of Don Love, Jen Hoskin, Sylvia Buchanan, Tim Crawford and Toni Cooper conquered some bad vis and strong winds, but by the end of the week everyone was still smiling and had heaps of surveys to show for it!

Once again, this trip was a collaborative effort between RLS and Parks Victoria (PV) with the primary aim being to survey established Parks Victoria sites. Data collected feeds directly into their Sub-tidal Reef Monitoring Program (SRMP) as well as into the RLS dataset.

Don Love kindly brought his boat along again and between him, and Paul and Michael from Southend Dive and Charters, the team successfully surveyed 12 of the 18 existing Parks Victoria sites. A total of 39 surveys were completed over the 6 days of diving, which was a grand effort. From those sites, 59 different fish species and 79 macro-invertebrate/cryptic fish were recorded. These values are consistent with last year’s surveys where 60 fish and 80 invertebrates were seen.  The most abundant fish species seen were: Notolabrus tetricus (blue throat wrasse), Parma victoriae (Victoria scalyfin), Olisthops cyanomelas (herring cale), and Pictilabrus laticlavius (Senator wrasse). The most common cryptic fish/macro-invertebrate species seen were, Comanthus tricoptera (Common featherstar), Haliotis laevigata (green lip abalone), Tosia australis (biscuit star), and Heliocidaris erythrogramma (common urchin). The cryptic fish weren’t as plentiful this year and Pope’s Eye failed to deliver the usual assortment of warty prowfish, golblinfish and sea dragons but the crew were compensated with a gorgeous velvetfish (Aploactisoma milesii) on the very last day!

We would like to give a massive thanks to the survey team team and in particular, Don Love for providing boat support and for his skippering expertise and knowledge of the Port Phillip Bay area. Huge thanks must also go to Paul Serbo and his awesome decky Michael for the super tasty hotdogs! Also thanks must go out to the Parks Victoria crew in Queensclilff, in particular Steffan Howe who helped organise the trip and provided a pen for Don’s boat. We look forward to the next Queenscliff trip.

Southend Dive and Charters. Contact Paul Serbo: 0438 591 120, email:  pserbo@bigpond.net.au

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