Mull aquarium is Europe’s first catch and release aquarium. This means that all of the creatures only stay in the tanks for a maximum of four weeks. We monitor all of the creatures carefully and often change animals over before the four weeks are up.
We have had a small curled octopus in our biggest tank for about 2 weeks. It didn’t settle in well from the start and after a couple of busy days in which it just hid itself away, we decided it was time to go back to the sea.
Most of our creatures are caught and then released by local fishermen, divers or tourist boats. The little curled octopus was released by our plankton expert, Andy, with a company called Sea life surveys.
Occasionally we get to have a go at catch and release ourselves. There are many species that we can release straight back into the bay from the little harbour association boat.
So thats exactly what I got to do last friday. Jim, the harbour master, took me, some starfish and some sea urchins, out into the bay. We released them into the water and then started looking for new sea urchins to replace them.
Before this I had never never seen an edible sea urchin in the wild, let alone catch one, but after a few failed attempts with a small net I got the hang of it. The trick is to get rid of the net, lean precariously over the side of the boat and just prise the urchins off the rocks.
I actually look forward to finding new creatures now, its quite exciting.