For 20 years, Hubbs-SeaWorld has been running an experimental program meant to replenish a wild white seabass population decimated by pollution, overfishing and habitat destruction. The state’s Fish and Wildlife Department’s invested $28 million in the effort.
The experimental program is raising deformed fish.
They have horns, bleeding hearts and are blind. It routinely needs to euthanize fish en masse. Over 100,000 have been destroyed due to herpes outbreaks, for instance.
And a scant few – just 2,000 total – of the Hubbs-raised fish have been found in the wild.
In a new investigation using internal documents, emails and original interviews, reporter Ry Rivard has uncovered uncomfortable details into the program that regulators and environmentalists are looking into.
In one internal document, a top state scientist said Hubbs was hiding behind positive press the program received while burying the reality “under a mountain of bullshit.” A Hubbs official defends the program, saying its record is comparable to other fish hatcheries.