Cabrillo Marine Aquarium will be offering a “Meet the Grunion” program Friday, April 30. The Aquarium will open at 8pm, and a film on grunion will begin at 9pm in the John M. Olguin Auditorium. Prior to the predicted run, everyone will gather on the beach to await the grunion.
Grunion are small, sardine-size fish of the silversides family, which are one of the few species of fish that actually come ashore to lay their eggs on sandy beaches. They are found from central California through Baja California, with Cabrillo Beach being one of the better places to observe them.
At times the beach may look as if it is covered in a blanket of silver as the wriggling fish arrive to mate. The females burrow into the sand to lay eggs while the males wrap around them to fertilize the eggs. Then both males and females catch the next wave back out to sea. The fertilized eggs incubate for about nine days in the sand before the tumbling action of the waves from the next series of highest tides causes them to hatch and carries them back out to sea.
Grunion may be caught by hand in the months of March, June, and July, which is the open season. Grunion catchers 16 years and older must have a valid California fishing license. During April and May, grunion may be observed but not captured.
The program cost is $5 for adults and $1 for seniors, students, and children. Warm clothing is recommended. The program will be offered again on May 15 & 29, June 14 & 28 and July 13 & 27.
Cabrillo Marine Aquarium is located at 3720 Stephen M. White Drive in San Pedro and is a facility of the City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks.