Beyond The Basics

"The best way to observe a fish, is to be fish."
~Jacques Yves Cousteau

Who you looking at? Be a fish watcher & identification specialist!
Be the diver everyone wants to dive with because you know the names of the fish they will see. You can earn this specialty with 2 ocean dives.  During your Adventure or Advanced Open Water, the Elective AWARE — Fish Identification Dive may also be counted toward Fish Identification Dive One of this specialty. 

PADI AWARE REEF Fish ID Specialty goals are:
To familiarize you with the role Project AWARE plays in preserving the aquatic environment.
2. To introduce you to the fi sh species you are likely to see on a dive in temperate or tropical waters. Being more knowledgeable about the fish you encounter will enhance your enjoyment and appreciation of various aquatic ecosystems.
3. To provide you with the knowledge and skills needed to conduct fish counts. This will enable you to collect valid scientific data on the distribution and abundance of fish at the dive sites you visit.

The Fun Part

There are more than 21,000 species of fish worldwide with more than 4000 species found on coral reefs. Because there are so many different species, it would be impossible to learn all of them or even most of them. Through a basic understanding of key characteristics of these common families — along with some essential ecological information — you will have a foundation to identify and understand the role of the majority of fish you see in most tropical and temperate environments.


What You Learn

The purpose of the AWARE — Fish Identification Specialty Course is to introduce divers to the most common families and species of fish found in temperate and tropical waters throughout the world. The course is designed to emphasize the importance of Project AWARE and involve people personally in the conservation of marine ecosystems.

The course introduces divers to the Fish Survey Project — a joint effort between the Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF) and The Nature Conservancy. Participants learn fish surveying techniques that allow them to provide valid scientific information to researchers and resource managers. Recreational divers and snorkelers can substantially increase the amount of biodiversity data available to scientists and conservationists by participating in this project.

REEF produces several sets of color slides (modules) of fish from various geographic regions. These slide sets along with other teaching aids — fish identification slates, reference books, videos and survey materials — which are extremely useful in conducting this course.  When using materials produced by REEF, student divers may conduct actual fish surveys, record sightings on underwater slates, transfer data to the REEF Fish Survey Project computer scan sheet and submit the scan sheets to REEF. 

We will elaborate to cover specific fish species that are common in the local area or areas where you are likely to visit. 

The Scuba Gear You Use
You will use the basic scuba diving equipment, REEF student kit, if available for course location. (Kits include underwater fish identification guide, data collection slate, survey data scan sheets, REEF membership materials, etc.), Fish identification slate, Data collection slate, etc. Check with Malibu Divers about gear rentals and packages offered with this course. You can find most everything here. 

The Learning Materials You Need
Accurate fish identification is based on thoughtful preparation. With that in mind: Discover the Underwater World — Snorkeler’s Field Guide, Nav-Finder, and A.W.A.R.E. Our World, Our Water manual are highly recommended.

You must be at least:

Minimum Age for this Course: 10 years old 

* Minimum pre-requisite certification level: (Jr) Open Water or equivalent.

Your Next Adventure
Certification means you’re qualified to:
1) Plan and organize a dive involving fish identification.
2) Participate in dives that include fish surveys and counts.
3) Apply for the rating of Master Scuba Diver if you are a PADI Advanced Open Water Diver (or have a qualifying certification from another organization) and a PADI Rescue Diver (or have a qualifying certification from another organization) with certification in four other PADI Specialty ratings. This Specialty course certification also counts as one of five Specialty certifications required for Master Scuba Diver certification.

For more information