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'Meet the Grunion' program Wednesday at Cabrillo Marine Aquarium

March 16, 2010 |  1:02 pm

Grunion Cabrillo Marine Aquarium in San Pedro will be holding its first "Meet the Grunion" program of the year on Wednesday.

The aquarium exhibit hall will open at 8 p.m., with a film on grunion to be screened at 9 p.m. The cost to attend is $5 for adults and $1 for seniors, children and students.

Afterward, those who wish to participate will head to the beach to await the spawning run, which has a projected two-hour window of 10:50 p.m. to 12:50 a.m.

Grunion runs are a sight to behold. For four consecutive nights, beginning on full and new moon phases during spring and summer, the small silvery fish leave the water to spawn on beaches. The shoreline may glisten with fish as the silversides attempt to lay and fertilize their eggs.

Grunion may only be caught in the months of March, June and July, and only by hand. Catchers 16 and older must possess a valid state fishing license.

There is no limit to the number of fish that may be caught, but the state Department of Fish and Game asks that people only catch what they will eat.

Preparing the fish in a simple manner seems best. After cleaning and scaling, they should be coated with a mixture of flour and yellow cornmeal (plus a pinch of salt or seasoning) and then sauteed or deep fried. Though bony, the fish have a very delicate flavor.

The program will be offered again on March 31, April 30, May 15 and 29, June 14 and 28 and July 13 and 27.

Cabrillo Marine Aquarium is located at 3720 Stephen M. White Drive in San Pedro. Directions and parking information is available on the website.

-- Kelly Burgess

Photo: Grunion come ashore twice a month from early spring to the end of summer. Credit: Gary Florin