CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection will unveil its newest public outreach and education tool at a fishing tournament this weekend in Charleston.
The 1,700-gallon, six-feet-deep, West Virginia-built freshwater mobile aquarium will make its debut at the Trail of Dreams bass tournament on May 9. Some of the bass caught during the tournament will be placed in the aquarium a little after 4 p.m., after being weighed in, and will remain there for an hour or two. The mobile aquarium will be set up near the Frontier boat ramp on the Kanawha River.
The aquarium - which weighs more than 25,000 pounds when full - features a chiller to keep the water cool even on the hottest days, two-inch-thick reinforced glass walls, and a net covering to prevent the fish from jumping out.
In addition to this weekend’s fishing tournament, several more mobile aquarium events are being planned. The aquarium will be on display during the DEP’s Youth Environmental Day festivities at North Bend State Park May 15-17, at the DEP’s Junior Conservation Camp at Cedar Lakes June 15-17, and during National Hunting and Fishing Days at Stonewall Jackson Lake State Park Sept. 26-27. Additional events are in the planning stages. After each event, the aquarium will be drained and cleaned and the fish returned to the stream or hatchery from which they came.
“I am very excited for the people of West Virginia to be able to get a fascinating, up-close view of the fish that call our streams and rivers home,” said DEP Cabinet Secretary Randy Huffman. “As an avid fisherman myself, I hope people will come to see and gain an appreciation for the delicate underwater world that this mobile aquarium highlights.”
The overall purpose of the mobile aquarium is to help teach the public about water habitat and the water quality necessary to maintain aquatic life. The aquarium’s use as an educational tool will be conducted in partnership with the Division of Natural Resources, whose logo and website also appear on the back of the tank.