HSU Samoa aquaponics facility preparing to plant a spring garden. Photo by Tyrone McDonald.

Sturgeon visit the HSU hatchery

While the sturgeon were at the HSU hatchery, students and community members learned a lot

The Samoa aquaponics facility is a captivating place with plentiful research opportunities for students, fresh air and the sound of bubbling water. Last semester, the fisheries department brought the wonders of sturgeon aquaculture to the Humboldt State campus hatchery.

Sturgeon are an important commercial fish.

“Sacramento is the caviar capitol of the United States due to the success of aquacultured sturgeon,” HSU professor Rafael Cuevas-Uribe said.

Angelo Perez, a fisheries major at HSU, helped move the sturgeon from the Samoa facility to the HSU Fish Hatchery.

“We were trying to build a better system for the fish,” Perez said. “When they came from Samoa, they were ill and we nursed them the best we could.”

Students and faculty of the HSU fisheries department learned a lot from the sturgeon and enjoyed having them there.

“It was a painful experience, but we learned a lot,” HSU fisheries student Jason Long said. “Everything that could go wrong did go wrong. I learned more from my failures then I could have ever learned from success alone.”

Aidan Belleau, an environmental science major had an aquaponics system in his living room he made himself from a goldfish tank.

“It cost me $60 and I had plenty of lettuce for salad,” Aidan said.

If the hatchery brought in sturgeon long-term, it would be the first time the hatchery diversified the species they have. Currently, there are two different species of rainbow trout, cutthroat and steelhead from the same stock since the late 1980s.

Sturgeon would be a significant addition to the fisheries department and the community in regards to research and education.

“Sturgeon have a wide spectrum of research,” HSU freshwater fisheries student said. “They go back and forth from rivers to the ocean and live to be over 100 years old.”

The benefits of HSU’s aquaponics facility stretch out to people of Humboldt County. Eureka, Arcata and Hoopa share the aquaponics facility harvest. With the aquaponics facility up and running, the abundance of greens is so great that Food for People is able to supply families with the freshest, nutritious greens from HSU for free.

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