The Year (of hatching fish) In Review

It has been a spectacular year for hatching fish despite the continuation of the drought in our state.

LARGEST PROGRAM IN THE NATION: 460 classes applied for permits in the Bay Area – that makes us the SINGLE LARGEST PROGRAM in the entire nation! 10% of all classes participating in programs that hatch fish across the country are part of the Bay Area Classroom Aquarium Education Program. Essentially, we rock. This is possible in large part due to the high level of participation of your sponsor. Be sure to say thanks to them!

TEACHERS CONQUER DROUGHT: Many teachers in Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties had successful years hatched rainbow trout for the very first time! The drought has made it impossible for these teachers to receive steelhead trout eggs for the 2nd year in a row. Rather than sit out yet another year, these adventurous souls tried something new helping their students learn that rainbow and steelhead are really the same species. Congratulations!

STRONG FISH SURVIVAL RATES: Almost all classrooms that received eggs successfully hatched and released fish despite higher than average egg mortality rates this year. In an effort to get the eggs into classrooms earlier (thus allowing more time for the eggs to remain in the tanks), CDFW delivered younger eggs than normal. This resulted in higher mortality rates of the eggs, and we saw a lower than average mortality rate in the fry (although I doubt these are related). There were surprisingly  few classes experienced “total tank failure” (fancy words for the entire tank going belly up).

EVERY MIDDLE SCHOOL SCIENCE TEACHER HATCHED FISH: Oakley School District started a new program with ALL MIDDLE SCHOOL SCIENCE classes hatching and releasing fish. They created curriculum to allow students to participate in the program 3 years in a row and each time study fish from a different perspective. Our congratulations to superstar teacher and TIC curriculum specialist Amy Di Maggio for her outstanding leadership.

PLEDGE TO PROTECT FISH: Marin Municipal Water District created a  Mt. Tam pledge for students. At the release, MMWD staff lead students in a pledge then allow each individual to agree to the pledge by putting an inked thumbprint on the sheet. This beautifully adorned pledge card goes to the school with the teacher to be posted on the classroom wall.

It was another great year. Clean your tank, store it for the summer, write down your ideas for next year and have a great summer. (OH – a remember to send your completed permit back to your sponsor or to CDFW)

About Ethan Rotman

Ethan Rotman (Bayareatic) manages and coordinates programs that hatch fish in classrooms for the San Francisco Bay Area. He also chairs the committee that manages these programs throughout the state. Ethan has worked with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife for over 20 years.
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