The first record I can find of a large fish monitoring event was the Great Annual Fish Count, which began in 1992. The event gathers and trains volunteers to dive, sight, count, and record the fish they see. Using this, it is a little bit easier to tell generally how many fish have died or been fished out of the water. Before then, in 1982, the Tropical Marine Research Unit of the University of York used volunteers and professionals to dive and count fish near coral reefs, but the goal of that was to monitor the reefs, not the fish; the fish counts were a means to see the distribution of the coral reefs.
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