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June 12, 2012

California High School Students Rear and Release White Seabass

Classroom-raised white seabass give students lessons in fisheries enhancement

Students from Huntington Beach High School released 33 white seabass into Southern California's Huntington Harbour yesterday – fish they grew in their classroom, according to a report in the Orange County Register. The fish were released at the Sunset Aquatic Park boat launch ramp. The idea to grow schools of fish in school came from Nancy Caruso, a marine biologist with a special interest in exploring ways to enhance populations of saltwater species.

Several of the students, along with science teacher Greg Gardiner, carried the juvenile croakers in a cooler down the boat launch on Monday afternoon. Huntington Beach High is the only school to have even grown white seabass, according to the report. The students have been raising the seabass since January. "It is the only project of its kind in the United States," Caruso said, according to the report. Caruso is founder of a non-profit organization called Get Inspired. Other such classroom projects have focused on easier-to-raise freshwater species, the report said.

Science students learned about the fish’s lifecycle, reproductive rates, and anatomy, including dissection of a whole fish. They compared the fish’s water with that of nearby ocean sites, checking salinity, oxygen, temperature and other factors. And they kept careful track of the fishes’ health and growth. Partners in the project also included the Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute and the California Department of Fish and Game. It is part of the state’s Ocean Resources Enhancement and Hatchery Program, funded largely by the Ocean Enhancement Stamp on saltwater recreational fishing licenses purchased by anglers fishing in Southern California.