Ocean Springs aquaculture program release striped bass into the wild

Ocean Springs High School students are saying goodbye to fish they have been raising for the past nine months in an effort to study and collect data.

The aquaculture program students at Ocean Springs High who successfully raised striped bass released them into the wild as part of the species enhancement program conducted by the Gulf Coast Research Lab and the Department of Marine Resources. Aquaculture Instructor Bryan Butler said, “The students in year one get fresh water fish to go along with our aquaponic systems and they raise those striped bass from about two inches to right now we’re releasing about seven to eight inches.”

Student Madelynn Light said, “Over the months, you know until we got to this point, we’ve had routine tank maintenance, which usually includes you know, scrubbing the sides, making sure all the hoses are running, no fish are stuck on anything, cleaning out filters, the troughs, just making sure that everything is in running order.”

After nursing the fish to a mature size, they are ready for the release. Close to 1000 striped bass have now been placed into this fresh water that you see behind The Shed. So, if you’re fishing out here along the docks, don’t be surprised if you catch a fish that is tagged by these aquaculture students. Student Preston Lewis said, “First, we drain all the tanks in the greenhouses, put them in a transportation tank, then we transport them over here. They’re in that tank and scoop them out and get them used to this new water and then we let them go.”

Students also tagged the fish with information such as school, class year, fish number, and a phone number. “But some of them do have specialized trackers where it’s a GPS and we can tell specifically where they are and if somethings eaten them, sometimes you’ll see the tag marker show up on land.”

Students were even a little emotional as they said their final goodbyes. “I felt happy, but also sad because we’d been raising them for nine months and they’re almost like our second family. We put lots of work into it.”

Categories: Local News, News