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'Grunion Fish-tival' Thursday at Cabrillo Marine Aquarium

May 18, 2011 | 10:45 am

Grunion come ashore to spawn twice a month during spring and summer.Cabrillo Marine Aquarium in San Pedro will hold a special "Grunion Fish-tival" on Thursday at 7 p.m. to supplement its regular "Meet the Grunion" program. The evening will include a film on grunion as well as the added opportunity to hatch grunion eggs, make grunion origami and other arts and crafts and interact with grunion researchers.

The cost to attend is $5 for adults and $1 for seniors, children and students. Tickets can be purchased onsite (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 11:05 p.m. to 1:05 a.m.

Grunion may only be caught in the months of March, June and July; because grunion are not in season now, 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 catch only what they will eat. Catchers 16 and older must possess a valid state fishing license.

The program will be offered again on 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 come ashore to spawn twice a month during spring and summer. Credit: Gary Florin / Cabrillo Marine Aquarium