Local News

Rockport Aquarium Does the Unthinkable Ahead of Hurricane Harvey

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Tony Maples Photography


The Aquarium at Rockport Harbor is a mostly volunteer-run aquarium on a mission to educate and entertain visitors by promoting the understanding, conservation, and stewardship of marine resources and its environments. The tireless work of the aquarium’s volunteers was never more evident than in the hours before Hurricane Harvey was on a collision course with Rockport. Faced with a storm coming straight for them and a building full of sea life, the volunteers did all that they could to ensure the health of the animals in their care.

Releasing and Relocating

Marley Rockport Aquarium

Photo: Facebook/Rockport Aquarium

According to KENS5 news in San Antonio, aquarium staff members had to make the difficult decision to release many of the fish into the bay ahead of the storm. As for Marley, the aquarium’s beloved five foot long, honeycomb moray eel, he was evacuated to the Texas State Aquarium in Corpus Christi on Thursday. He will stay there until the Aquarium at Rockport Harbor can rebuild, staff said.

Devastation in Rockport

Rockport Aquarium after

Photo: Facebook/Rockport Aquarium

As with many of the structures in Rockport, the Aquarium was left in shambles. The building sustained catastrophic damage in the storm. According to the Aquarium’s Facebook page, several volunteers were able to access the building on Tuesday after the storm. There they assessed the damage and were amazed to find that many of the fish survived. They made the decision to release the surviving fish into the open water – giving them their best hope for survival – since it will undoubtedly be months (if not years) until a new structure can be built. Marley, the eel, weathered the storm safely in Corpus Christi and will reside there until the Rockport Aquarium can be rebuilt.

Vowing to Rebuild

Rockport Aquarium before

Photo: Facebook/Rockport Aquarium 

The organization vows to rebuild and continue their hard work educating visitors about the fragile ecosystem of our Gulf waters. To learn more about The Aquarium at Rockport Harbor, visit their website here, or follow them on Facebook for updates as their storm recovery continues.