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Repairs keep the "Candy M" afloat for BioPark guests to enjoy.

Aquarium Shrimp Boat Returns to Work

The Candy M, New Mexico's only registered Gulf shrimping boat, docked at the Aquarium.

October 22, 2012

The Candy M shrimp boat is returning to the ABQ BioPark Aquarium's Working on the Water exhibit this morning. A crane will lift the boat from its temporary location near Central Avenue into the lagoon.

The wood and steel cradle holding the boat had seriously deteriorated since it was placed in 1996. In June, the BioPark removed the boat, drained the lagoon and built a new cradle. A few more repairs will be made on the boat itself and then the lagoon will be refilled.

"This shrimp boat is one example of the specialized maintenance work that many BioPark exhibits and buildings require as they age," said Holly Casman, Aquarium Manager. "We are glad to have the Candy M back on exhibit to help guests experience a part of life on the Gulf Coast and learn about sustainable fishing as well."

The Aquarium acquired the Candy M, a steel-hulled bay shrimp boat from Port Aransas in Texas, in 1996 as part of the exhibit about the shrimping industry in the Gulf of Mexico. Shrimp boats operate in the open gulf, remaining at sea for long periods, or in bays, docking each day. Commercial shrimping grew rapidly in the 1920s due to engines, trawls, refrigeration and other technologies. Today, nearly 90% of white shrimp caught in the U.S. comes from the Gulf.

Unfortunately, overfishing is a major threat to the sustainability of seafood. To ensure ocean biodiversity and health, state and federal laws regulate seasonal catch sizes and other operations. Equipment like Turtle Excluder Devices (TED) on the Candy M, also reduces environmental impacts of fishing. Grids on TEDs allow shrimp to be caught in trawl nets, but blocks sea turtles and other large wildlife from being captured.

The Candy M can be seen daily from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.; the exhibit is included with regular admission. For more information, email [email protected] or dial 311 locally (505-768-2000).

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