Fish For The Road

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Published on: Jun. 2, 2002

Last revision: Nov. 12, 2010

buffalo swim continuously with their mouths open, straining the water for plankton.

The fish go on with their daily behavior oblivious to the thousands of people watching them.

It's amazing how often I hear the word "Wow!" as folks intently follow the fish in the aquarium. Children are especially enthralled. They line up and tug on the barricade chain. Mothers often take pictures of their children near the aquarium, and sometimes through the aquarium's clear water.

The aquarium is designed for presentations. One of our most popular programs is teaching people how to fish. There's a platform on top of the aquarium from which a biologist or guest anglers can fish. The audience can follow every cast and watch fish position themselves for an attack, explode on the lure or bait and run away with it. No hooks are used, so fish can easily spit out the lure or bait.

Mobile fish aquarium programs also deal with rare or endangered species, exotic species, pollution, habitat degradation and other hazards that threaten Missouri's aquatic ecosystems. Visitors to the mobile aquarium can learn how all these factors affect fishing and their enjoyment of Missouri's lakes and waterways.

When the program is over, the fish are usually fed various natural foods, such as minnows, crayfish, worms or crickets. Folks love to watch the fish at feeding time!

Anyone in Missouri can submit a reservation request for the "Show-me Missouri Fish" mobile aquarium. Reservation request forms are available from your local Conservation Department office. The deadline for reservation requests is October 1 for the following year. A steering committee composed of seven Department employees reviews the requests and determines which events the mobile aquarium will attend during the year. Those selected are contacted by mid November.

The mobile aquarium visits roughly 20 events every year and is on display for about 100 days. Due to the time, effort and costs associated with setting up the aquarium, we prefer places or events during which the aquarium can be on display for at least three days and that have enough traffic to justify the setup.

The Conservation Department does not charge anyone to visit the aquarium, and it is free to reserve. However, the costs of water, shade or electricity are the responsibility of the requesting party.

When the aquarium is set up, fisheries biologists and other Conservation Department professionals are usually on hand to answer questions about fish or any of our natural resources. Related publications are made available for people to take home and read.

All who visit the Show-me Missouri Fish Mobile Aquarium leave with the knowledge they need to responsibly enjoy our aquatic resources.

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