VFSP Timeline 30 years
It's the 30th Anniversary of the Volunteer Fish Survey Project!

Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF) protects marine life through education, service, and research. REEF facilitates programs that actively engage divers, snorkelers, and other marine enthusiasts in marine conservation. This is primarily accomplished through the Volunteer Fish Survey Project. Since its launch in 1993, this citizen science program has generated one of the largest marine life databases in the world through marine life sightings surveys. In 2020, the database surpassed 250,000 surveys conducted at almost 15,000 sites throughout the world’s oceans by over 16,000 volunteer divers and snorkelers worldwide.

Join us in celebrating this 30-year citizen science project with all the people who made the Volunteer Fish Survey Project possible by volunteering their time and gathering marine life sightings data. This data is instrumental for scientists to determine solutions on how to protect our marine ecosystems. Take part in commemorating this ongoing conservation project and recognizing all who make this project possible. Keep reading for more information on how to get involved, the historic timeline of the project, exclusive swag, a special anniversary challenge, and upcoming celebratory events.

[Click on image to view enlarged timeline]


30 for 30 Challenge

This year we're kicking off our 30 for 30 Challenge in honor of the 30th anniversary of the Volunteer Fish Survey Project. The challenge? Simply, do 30 REEF surveys within 2023. Those adventurous enough to complete the challenge will earn a special 30th-anniversary dry bag and sticker for free! 

You can see a list of everyone who has completed the challenge here!

How it works:

  • Surveys must be conducted and submitted during 2023 (Jan. 1 - Dec. 31)
  • Surveys may be from a single REEF survey region or multiple REEF regions combined
  • Surveys can be done by diving or snorkeling
  • Everyone who completes the 30 for 30 Challenge will get a limited-edition 30th-anniversary sticker and dry bag for free
  • Email Katie Barnes at katie.barnes@REEF.org with your name, member number, and address to claim your dry bag and sticker!

 Prize dry bag and sticker

Exclusive Swag

Want to get an item to remember this milestone of the Volunteer Fish Survey Project? This year alone, we are selling an exclusive 12-oz. 30th anniversary insulated tumbler. Bring it with you on survey trips to stay hydrated between times in the water. This tumbler, by SIC Cups, will keep your drink "Seriously Ice Cold"!

How to get involved?

Anyone anywhere can participate in the Volunteer Fish Survey Project. The only materials needed are an underwater slate and pencil, a good reference book, and access to the internet to submit the data online. Watch this quick video on the project or check out the VFSP Survey Toolbox for a complete list of resources available to REEF surveyors in each of our ten regions.