GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

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July 25, 2009

147 divers to spend day counting fish

For the eighth consecutive year, the largest fish count in terms of divers in the nation will take place on Cape Ann, according to organizer Bob Michelson.

This morning at 8, rain or shine, about 147 divers will hit the water in nine sites around the cape and spend most of the day counting fish as part of the Great Annual Fish Count, Michelson said. In years past, about 100 divers have taken part, but today, they will be joined by members of three dive clubs new to the count.

Until 2 p.m., the divers will be counting how many species they find, and the number of each they spot. Michelson said many of the divers will also be using underwater cameras to shoot pictures of the fish.

The most divers, between 25 and 40, will be congregating at Folly Cove in Rockport; a similar-sized group will also be diving in Lane's Cove in Gloucester.

After the fish count and until about 4 p.m., the divers will meet on the porch of the Visitors Center building at Stage Fort Park to crunch the count numbers and show off their photos. Each submitted survey will qualify the divers for $8,000 worth of raffle prizes.

The Gloucester session of the Great Annual Fish Count is being hosted by the Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF) and the New England Aquarium Dive Club.

Andrea Holbrook may be contacted at aholbrook@gloucestertimes.com.

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