California Grunion Greeters

Meet the Grunion 

Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, 3720 Stephen M. White Drive, San Pedro, CA 90731
310-548-7562
cabrillomarineaquarium.org

$5 adults, $1 seniors, students and children.
FRIENDS Members: FREE

SAN PEDRO: Meet the Grunion, 8 p.m.-12 a.m. Watch silvery fish come up on the beach to spawn! Learn about the interesting mating rituals and growth of this curious fish. The Aquarium opens at 8 pm and an auditorium program begins at 9, followed by guided observation at the beach. Warm clothing and a flashlight are recommended. April and May are closed season. March, June and July are open season, when grunion may be taken by hand only and a valid California fishing license must be displayed if you are 16 years or older. $5 adults, $1 seniors, students and children. FRIENDS Members: FREE Cabrillo Marine Aquarium 3720 Stephen M. White Drive San Pedro, CA 310-548-7562 cabrillomarineaquarium.org

April 21, 2019 Meet the Grunion

May 7, 2019 Meet the Grunion

May 20, 2019 Meet the Grunion

June 5, 2019 Meet the Grunion

June 19, 2019 Meet the Grunion

Other Grunion Events

  • Fishtival - Celebration of all things Grunion March 22, 2019, 8 p.m.-12 a.m. $5, $1 seniors, students, kids
  • FRIENDS Members-Only Grunion Run April 6, 2019. Memberships start at $40.
  • Grand Grunion Gala May 18, 2019, 5-11 p.m. $200-up

Grunion Meets & Talks 8 p.m. Program begins at 9pm. Midnight, cabrillomarineaquarium.org

Doors open at 8 p.m. Program starts at 9 p.m.

California is a fantastic place to learn about the ocean -- we have close to 1,000 miles of it lapping our shoreline. And there's no place more suited for introducing you to the Pacific than aquariums. They are up and down the coast from Scripp's in La Jolla to Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, Cabrillo Aquarium in San Pedro, Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey, and the Steinhard Aquarium in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco. We've omitted a few for brevity but suffice to say that this week's Meet the Grunion night time, flashlight program at Cabrillo Aquarium showcases what's so great about these institutions. The public can attend a gathering (blankets recommended), bring flashlights and learn about silverside fish, then watch them on the beach.

It's like a flashlight Easter Egg Hunt for all ages, except it's real Mother Nature at work, doing her thing. Locals in San Pedro are so crazy about grunion that they created a grunion song, a grunion dance, and they invite the public to come watch the fish. This week's event is on Friday, March 11, starting at 8 p.m. On select Friday nights you can join other fans of the grunion for a small fee $1-5 and get a behind-the-scenes lecture about their mating habits. Cool!

In March, June and July, grunion may be collected, by hand only, by persons possessing a 2016 California Fishing License. No license is required for those under the age of 16.

*Closed Season: During the months of April and May, taking of grunion is not permitted. Meet the Grunion programs will still be held.

Watch the silvery fish come up on the beach to spawn! Learn about the interesting mating rituals and growth of this curious fish. The Aquarium opens at 8 p.m. and an auditorium program begins at 9, followed by guided observation at the beach. Warm clothing and a flashlight are recommended. April and May are closed season. March, June and July are open season, when grunion may be taken by hand only and a valid California fishing license must be displayed if you are 16 years or older.

FRIENDS ONLY Grunion Run Past event!

Watch the silvery fish come up on the beach to spawn! Learn about the interesting mating rituals and growth of this curious fish. The Aquarium opens at 8 p.m. and an auditorium program begins at 9, followed by guided observation at the beach. Warm clothing and a flashlight are recommended. April and May are closed season. March, June and July are open season, when grunion may be taken by hand only and a valid California fishing license must be displayed if you are 16 years or older. FRIENDS Members: FREE

CALIFORNIA GRUNION -- While many believe that Grunion Greeters are kind folks trained to welcome people and teach them how to catch grunion that spawn on California's beaches each spring, the truth is that the group, Grunion Greeters, is a trained volunteer corps of citizen scientists working with researchers from NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) - National Marine Fisheries Service in conjunction with Pepperdine University to track this fish population.

According to a NOAA regional official, there's no solid understanding about the beaches grunion like to frequent, and no count of the grunion run populations to monitor the health of the species.

Launched around 2002 when San Diego was using beach grooming practices that may impact grunion populations and runs, Grunion Greeters grew out of concern surrounding these issues.

Pepperdine University Professor of Biology, Karen Martin, organized a program to monitor the grunion behaviors during runs. Requiring large numbers of people to help carry out the study, a training program was created and put into place. Protocols for observation and data collection assured better, more accurate results.

The initial year Grunion Greeter program under the training and direction of Melissa Studer, marine conservationist, was deployed as a 100 citizen "army" of scientists to "run" with the grunion. Expanding form 100 greeters to 500 in seven years, a territory from San Diego to San Francisco encompassed over approx. 600 miles of beaches, and an awareness that the grunion runs were occurring further north than previously recognized.

How it works: During the peak spawning months of April and May volunteers stand watch during expected run times. Assessing the strength of the grunion runs ranging from no fish spawning to thousands of fish spawning for an hour or longer, Grunion Greeters record their observations, including weather conditions and presence of predators.

It seems humans are not the only ones to pick on the fish-- birds, marine mammals, and even sharks will jump onto the beach and grab the grunion in delightful feeding frenzies.

While the animals and fish are free to eat as they please, humans are regulated and can only catch the fish during during certain months of an open season. Grunion Greeters act as stewards, informing people about the rules & regulations, which is where the perception that they are strictly goodwill ambassadors to human populations probably came from.

Mostly funded by NOAA Fisheries, the Grunion Greeters program has yielded valuable data to help plan future beach restorations and policies for grunion runs.

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