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'Meet the Grunion' Thursday at Cabrillo Marine Aquarium

May 4, 2011 | 10:25 am

Grunion spawn on the beaches during the annual grunion run. Cabrillo Marine Aquarium in San Pedro will be holding its "Meet the Grunion" program on Thursday.

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

Afterward, those who wish to participate will head to the beach to await the spawning run, which has a projected two-hour window of 10:45 p.m. to 12:45 a.m.

Grunion may only be caught in the months of March, June and July; since this is closed season, the outing is for observation only.

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.

There is no limit to the number of fish that may be caught during open season (the next one begins June 3), but the California Department of Fish and Game asks that people only catch what they will eat. Catchers 16 and older must possess a valid state fishing license.

The program will be offered again on May 19, June 3 and 17 and July 16.

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

-- Kelly Burgess

Photo: Grunion spawn on the beaches during the annual grunion run. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times