September 1, 2008

Hayward “Feeding Frenzy” Aims to Promote Awareness of Bay Area Marine Life

By Gideon Rubin

HAYWARD -- A school of small fish quickly scattered as some scallops, smelt and shrimp, among other treats are dropped into a large tank.

A 3-year-old leopard shark devoured everything he could get to. The others got the leftovers.

Sunday's open-to-the-public shark "Feeding Frenzy" is a monthly event at Hayward Shoreline Interpretive Center, where the shark shares a 300-gallon tank with surfperch, crabs and other marine species.

And as the mealtime shows, it is a less than egalitarian environment.

"He's the ruler here," staffer Megan Fitzharris said.

The monthly feeding aims to educate the public about the Bay Area's marine life and encourages the public to be good stewards, Fitzharris said.

"When you look out at the bay, all you see is brown water," Fitzharris said. "We want to show people what's in there." The center's 2-foot shark has a 7-foot growth ceiling. The leopard shark is among the San Francisco Bay's most populous of seven shark species whose total population is estimated to be 100,000, Fitzharris said.

The center, part of the Hayward Area Park and Recreation District, is built on stilts above salt marsh and sits near the San Mateo Bridge entrance.

For information on future events at the Hayward Shoreline Interpretive Center, call 510-670-7270, or go to their website: Gideon Rubin can be reached at 510- 293-2469 or [email protected]

Originally published by Gideon Rubin, The Daily Review.

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