California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Classroom Aquarium Education Program


Program Implementation

  1. Teacher Reference Materials
    1. Training materials will include information on the mission of CDFW, and its role in maintaining sustainable fish populations for their recreational, commercial and biological value.
    2. Supplemental curricula will be recommended or developed to assist teachers in with concepts of aquatic habitats, fish survival needs, watersheds and human impacts. Materials will be coordinated with California State Educational Standards.
  2. Teacher Permitting, Training and Certification
    1. Teacher Permitting
      1. An individual must possess a valid and signed Permit to Transfer and Rear Eggs and Fish for Classroom Aquarium Education Projects (FG 772) to participate in the program. Successful completion of a CDFW approved training which covers minimum training standards as outlined in attachment A is a pre-requisite to receive a permit.
    2. Training
      1. Training will be conducted by CDFW staff or community partners working in conjunction with CDFW staff.
      2. A reasonable fee may be charged to cover expenses incurred in delivery of the teacher training workshop.  Expense records must be maintained for inspection by CDFW.
      3. As a part of the training, CDFW will provide or make available for reproduction CDFW approved manuals on how to set up and maintain the aquarium, a certificate documenting completion, names and contact information for CDFW and other personnel who can provide assistance, technical support, information on laws regarding raising of fish, and various other related fishery and habitat information.
      4. Upon successful completion of the training, the teacher will receive a certificate of completion, will be considered ”certified”, and may then apply for a FG &772 permit. The certification will be honored by community partners and regional programs state-wide. A teacher moving from one region of the state to another will need to meet with the community partner in that region to learn about the logistics of receiving the services provided by that community partner. 
      5. Educators who currently participate in CAEP and can demonstrate they meet minimum training standards (as outlined in attachment A) may be certified under a grandfather clause at the discretion of the Regional CAEP Coordinator working in conjunction with the local training partner.
      6. Participants who fail to follow the guidelines stated herein or fail to report as required may have their permits revoked or not renewed. Appeals and renewals are subject to the review and discretion of the regional manager or designee.
      7. Timely completion and timely submittal of all documents required by CDFW and the training organization is required for certification to continue to be valid. Failure to complete and submit forms or mishandling of eggs or fry or release of fry in waters other than designated by CDFW will result in immediate de-certification.
      8. CDFW will work with local community partners to ensure training covers minimum training standards (see attachment A). Reference materials and training will be made available to assist these organizations in reaching these standards.
      9. Supplemental training may be offered at the discretion of the training provider.
  3. Laws, Regulations and Policies Governing the Handling, Movement and Disposition of Eggs and Fish as they pertain to CAEP
    1. Fish and Game Code Sections 15200, 15201, 15202 and 6400
    2. Fish and Game Operations Manual, Fisheries Section 2164.4
    3. Related laws, regulations and policies governing that handling, movement and disposition of fish as they relate to private aquaculturists:  Title 14: Sections 238.5(d) 1-4, 240, 24, Fish and Game Code 15201.
  4. General Requirements for Classroom Aquarium Projects
    1. No eggs or fish acquired for CAEP shall be possessed, transferred, released or otherwise disposed of except as authorized by a CDFW signed CDFW Form 772.  All limitations and conditions stated by that form shall be followed.
    2. On completion of the program each year, participants will be required to return the authorization form to the regional CAEP coordinator with the location and numbers of fish released, and any other requested information.
    3. Visits to watersheds, rivers, streams, fish hatcheries, fish ladders, or habitat restoration projects to observe concepts and practices learned in the classroom are encouraged.
    4. Participation in approved study, exploration, clean up, and restoration of local aquatic resources is encouraged.
    5. It is the intent of this program to encourage participation from other interests which may include private aquaculture, fishing organizations, service clubs and fishery restoration.
  5. CDFW Statewide Administration of CAEP
    1. Statewide Coordinator
      The Assistant Deputy Director for Education and Outreach will provide oversight for the statewide CAEP steering committee. This position will be responsible for coordinating communication between branches, regions and functions including the Statewide Hatchery Coordinator and Fisheries Branch chief.
      1. A designee from the statewide CAEP steering committee (as determined by committee members) will chair meeting, develop agendas and be responsible for tracking progress of tasks.
    2. Statewide CAEP Steering Committee
      1. Is comprised of the Deputy Director for Education and Outreach, Statewide Aquatic Education Coordinator, statewide hatchery coordinator and the CAEP Regional Coordinators.
      2. Will meet regularly to determine statewide practices and discuss issues of statewide significance.
      3. Provide assistance to community partners through development of educational materials, brochures, displays.
      4. Resolve disputes that may arise within a regional or statewide program.
  6. CDFW Regional Coordination of CAEP
    1. Each region involved in the program will designate an employee to act as CAEP Regional Coordinator who will
      1. Coordinate efforts between interpretive, fishery, and hatchery personnel.
      2. Oversee issuing of permits to classrooms.
      3. Maintain records of permits.
      4. Serve on Statewide CAEP Steering Committee.
      5. Ensure compliance with all governing laws regulations and policies and will work with other CDFW staff to administer programs in accordance with CDFW-approved pathological, biological and hatchery practices.  Any variance will be approved by the Regional Manager as a written amendment to the original permit.
      6. Be responsible for egg distribution, movement and ultimate disposition of fish.
    2. The Regional CAEP program staff role
      1. Identify appropriate sources of eggs to be used in their region for this program.  CDFW fish production programs will have priority and eggs will be available only when surpluses exist.
      2. Ensure that all eggs used in this program have received prior approval from CDFW Fisheries Management, Fish Health Lab, and Hatchery Operations Committee to ensure they were disinfected in accordance with standard hatchery practices.
      3. Prescribe disposal of sick or dead fish in a manner not to contaminate public waters or other fish stocks.
      4. Specify location(s) for final disposition of fish raised under this program using the following department guidelines
        1. All anadromous fish shall be returned to the stream or the river basin of origin and released downstream of any public or private hatchery or egg taking facility unless otherwise permitted by CDFW or NOAA FISHERIES regulations.
        2. Trout may be released into any suitable waters approved by the CDFW, but not above any public or private fish hatchery.
        3. In cases where possible exposure to serious disease is   encountered, destruction of the fish may be the only appropriate course of action. CDFW will make the final decision of the disposition of fish resulting from these aquarium programs.     
        4. Ensure compliance with all laws affecting Threatened and Endangered species, as they relate to taking, raising and releasing of fish and eggs used in these programs.
        5. Determine appropriate number of eggs distributed for their region.
      5. Provide eggs to teachers of support organizations under guidelines set by regional CAEP Coordinator and as available.
      6. Present workshops or work with local community partners to ensure teachers receive training that meets CDFW requirements as stated herein.
      7. Ensure coverage of CDFW Mission and role at teacher workshops.
      8. Provide classroom assistance as needed and as resources allow.
      9. Assist community partners as needed.
      10. Provide tours of facilities and other support to classrooms involved in the program as requested and as resources allow.
  7. Roles of community partners
    1. Provide teacher-training workshops in conjunction with CDFW CAEP staff.
    2. Assist teachers in obtaining necessary equipment, materials and curriculum.
    3. Assist teachers, as needed, in setting up aquarium equipment in their classroom.
    4. Coordinate with the CDFW to obtain the required permits, fish eggs from approved sources, and deliver eggs to the classroom aquaria.
    5. Visit classrooms of the individual participants as needed to assist with operation of the aquaria, or with presentations of aquatic programs.
    6. Assist, if necessary, with the release of the juvenile fish into public waters approved by the CDFW.
    7. Assist the CDFW in ensuring all aspects of the teachers’ permits are met.
    8. Maintain records as deemed necessary by the department and submit to the CDFW on completion of the yearly program.