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Title: Reef Visual Census (RVC) Fish Survey Protocol for Atlantic, U.S. Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico
Short Name: RVC Protocol for Atlantic, U.S. Caribbean and FGBNMS
Status: Completed
Revision Date: 2016-05-19
Publication Date: 2018

The National Coral Reef Monitoring Program (NCRMP) is a broad-spatial snapshot for reef condition (i.e., fish species composition/density/size, benthic cover, and coral density/size/condition) to provide context for local-scale studies of tropical reef ecosystems. Data collection will occur at stratified random sites where the sampling domain for each region (e.g., Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI), Flower Garden Banks and Florida) is partitioned by habitat type and depth, sub-regional location (e.g., along-shelf position) and management zone. NCRMP is intended to supplement local monitoring efforts by providing large-scale data on reef fishes and the benthos.

NCRMP fish surveys conducted in the US Caribbean/Gulf of Mexico region (Puerto Rico, USVI, Flower Garden Banks) have traditionally used the Belt Transect method. In the Pacific and Florida regions, fish surveys are conducted using the Reef Visual Census (RVC) method. To standardize fish data collection methods and for comparison purposes, all jurisdictions will be using the RVC method for conducting fish surveys beginning in 2016. This protocol will describe fish surveys conducted in the U.S. reefs in the Atlantic, Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico.


The goal of the fish community surveys is to collect and report information on species composition, density, size, abundance, and derived metrics (e.g., species richness, diversity) using the RVC point count method (Brandt et al., 2009) in a stratified random sampling design on hardbottom and coral reef habitats in the U.S. coral reef jurisdictions. While all jurisdictions will use the RVC method, slight adjustments must be made in order to account for regional implementation nuances.


In the U.S. Caribbean, RVC will be implemented by a team of two divers, each conducting a 7.5 m radius point count fish survey. The team of two divers serve as a site replicate and data are averaged between both surveys to reduce variability. In Florida, two teams of two divers are deployed and each is averaged respectively.

Support Roles


CC ID: 1123171
Date Effective From: 2018
Date Effective To:
Contact (Organization): National Centers for Environmental Information - Silver Spring, Maryland (NCEI-MD)
Address: NOAA/NESDIS E/OC SSMC3, 4th Floor, 1351 East-West Highway
Silver Spring, MD 20910-3282
Phone: (301) 713-3277

Distribution Information

Distribution 1

CC ID: 1123172
Start Date: 2018
End Date: Present
Download URL:
Distributor: National Centers for Environmental Information - Silver Spring, Maryland (NCEI-MD) (2018 - Present)
File Name: Collector_instructions.pdf
File Date/Time: 2018-01-16 17:56:00
File Type: PDF
File Size: 924K
Compression: no compression applied
Review Status: Chked Viruses Inapp Content



CC ID: 1123173
Name: Resources Helping you capture data and perform inspections in ArcGIS Collector
URL Type:
Online Resource

Where You May Download documentation on the "Collector" Application

Catalog Details

Catalog Item ID: 66513
GUID: gov.noaa.nmfs.inport:66513
Metadata Record Created By: Lee M Weinberger
Metadata Record Created: 2022-01-27 02:30+0000
Metadata Record Last Modified By: SysAdmin InPortAdmin
Metadata Record Last Modified: 2022-08-09 17:11+0000
Metadata Record Published: 2022-02-28
Owner Org: SEFSC
Metadata Publication Status: Published Externally
Do Not Publish?: N
Metadata Last Review Date: 2022-02-28
Metadata Review Frequency: 1 Year
Metadata Next Review Date: 2023-02-28