Block Island Times

Crowd watches as BIMI’s finny friends return home

The following was submitted by John Lehman of the Block Island Maritime Institute:
A crowd of approximately 75 onlookers, masked and socially distanced, watched as Valerie Preler, the Block Island Maritime Institute’s Program Director, assisted by several young helpers, fed a noonday meal of squid and grass shrimp to the fish that have been aquarium-bound for the summer.
When asked why she was feeding the fish before they were to be let go, Preler explained that the fish needed the food to nourish them to head back into the Great Salt Pond and beyond.
After the feeding, Preler and Bayley McKeon, BIMI’s Aquarist, spent the following hour netting the tanks’ 16 guests. They were assisted by BIMI Board of Directors members Dan McLaughlin and George Davis, and expert diver Chris Blansfield.
The netted fish were released into the water under the watchful eye of many of the younger onlookers who were excited to see them swim away. Among the released specimens were striped bass, bluefish, black sea bass, scup, oyster toad fish, and sea robins. They included other aquarium visitors like crabs, lobster, oysters and snails. Everyone enjoyed the ice cream that was donated to BIMI’s 2020 Aquarium

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