Mikes Patterson is “a little upset.”
A long-time volunteer offering knowledge of the sea in Sidney — first at the whale museum and now at the Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre — she takes a minute to word the sentiment carefully.
“We’re trying to produce a really educational experience,” Patterson said.
To aid in that educational experience, she took a couple of traps to put out overnight on the Bevan Pier to capture sea critters for the living displays at the aquarium.
Within a couple of days, the traps were tampered with twice.
“The first time the catch was all there, so it seemed like the work of hooligans,” she said. While the catch was still on the dock, much of it had been pillaged by seagulls, though they managed to return two crabs safely back to the sea.
The second time, “everything was gone,” she said. “I was a little, upset.”
“We can’t afford to keep buying prawn nets because we’re a charitable organization,” she said.
Patterson leaves the traps well signed, with a card that states the collection is for scientific purposes, not for human consumption, and the name of an SODC aquarist along with phone number.
She hopes in the future, anyone with concerns will call that number and ask questions.
“We are not hurting, or eating the animals. It’s not for human consumption,” Patterson said. “It’s really important that our exhibit remain healthy with new viable fresh food from the ocean … it really keeps everything healthy.”