Feeding time in the Open Sea!

Aquarium visitors and residents at the Open Sea exhibit

Our Open Sea exhibit provides a window into the blue-water ecosystem of the Pacific Ocean. Apex predators like sharks and tuna glide past sea turtles, mackerel, and shimmering schools of sardines.

Chomp! A bluefin tuna snags a piece of squid during a feeding

To deter predators from taking a bite out of their neighbors, we keep all residents satisfied with regular feedings. Tuna and mahi mahi get fed first so they’re already full when smaller mackerels and sardines come out to nibble.

Mahi mahi snack on gel diet in the center of the the Open Sea exhibit

While the fishes are feasting, hammerhead sharks, sandbar sharks, and pelagic stingrays get their own separate feeding on the side of the exhibit. Aquarists carefully weigh slabs of salmon before handfeeding them to the critters waiting below. Tracking how fast sharks and stingrays grow helps us better understand some of the ocean’s most misunderstood creatures.

Sardines whirl in a glittering frenzy while feeding

Ironically, the Open Sea exhibit sits on the site of one of the many canneries that put Monterey Bay on the map. Now we’re feeding sardines instead of feeding on them! We also work with restaurants and fishermen to foster sustainable seafood practices.

A peak at a healthy ocean ecosystem

Sharing what healthy ecosystems look like helps us promote understanding and conservation of the ocean. You can catch Open Sea feedings at 11:00am Pacific Time at the Aquarium…and on our Open Sea cam!