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Jetty Tank Black Drum by Stephen Myers

Visiting Sea Center Texas

Jetty Aquarium


Permit at the Jetty Aquarium

A 5,000-gallon jetty exhibit fills the back wall of the center. Granite blocks and boulders re-create a man-made jetty that is the aquarium's background. Barnacles, periwinkle, and other shelled animals encrust wooden pilings and southern flounder cruise across the bottom. Finfish like Atlantic spadefish, snook, permit, scorpionfish, Atlantic croaker and spotted seatrout can be found among the boulders.

Five major pairs of jetties are found along the Texas Coast. A jetty’s structure extends into the water to direct and confine river or tidal flow into a channel to help keep it from filling with sediments. Jetties also protect the entrance of the channel from wave action and cross currents. Unfortunately, jetties also stop the natural flow of sand and sediments along the shoreline, trapping sediments on one side of the jetty and causing increased erosion on the opposite side.

Because jetties provide a structure with hard surfaces that extends from the shore to the open water, the animals found there represent a cross-section of animals from a variety of other habitats including oyster reefs, salt marshes and open bay and coral reefs. Unfortunately, the jetty environment presents some risks for people who are fishing or walking along them. Blue-green algae make the rocks slippery for walking and sharp barnacles that grow near the water line can cause painful cuts. However, many anglers find the fishing experience worth the risk.