On May 20th, the “Friend of the Sea Sustainable Aquaria” certification was officially delivered to the Dubrovnik Aquarium at a ceremony attended by Friend of the Sea’s Director, Dr. Paolo Bray, and Dr. Nenad Antolović, Director of the Institute of the Sea and Coast from the University of Dubrovnik in Croatia.
The Dubrovnik Aquarium is the second Croatian marine institution to join the Friend of the Sea sustainability program, together with the Pula Aquarium.
“When we started renovating and improving the Aquarium, obtaining certifications was not our main goal,” admitted Dr. Antolović during the ceremony. “Our first objective was to improve our facilities and the service for our visitors, but much has improved during this process. In the next years, the Dubrovnik Aquarium plans to host seminars to maintain high standards for future evaluations“.
To be a certified Friend of the Sea institution, aquariums must meet strict sustainable policies, waste management regulations, and social responsibilities and commit to displaying comprehensive scientific information related to each species housed and offering annual educational courses for their visitors. Accordingly, this certification ensures that aquariums meet the highest animal welfare standards and prevent mammals from suffering or being trapped.
The Dubrovnik Aquarium has demonstrated, through a third-party control, to be strongly involved in raising awareness among the public and visitors, teaching them about conservation, and sustainability to safeguard the integrity of aquatic life.
As Paolo Bray said: “To obtain this certificate, the Dubrovnik Aquarium demonstrated to fulfill obligations concerning the welfare of the sea life. Current knowledge suggests that fish are social beings: they have emotions and may feel pain or stress. For these reasons, it has also been verified that the fish live free from stress or negative situations in the Aquarium. Along with this, we confirmed a satisfactory level of sea pollution, another key condition for getting the certification.“
Public aquaria offer the unique experience of observing species of marine life firsthand, species that might otherwise never be seen without this exclusive opportunity. While the number of public aquaria continues to grow worldwide, Friend of the Sea has recognized the need for greater attention to aquaria to ensure sustainability principles and animal welfare.
Thanks to this recognition, the Dubrovnik Aquarium can now boast of having reached a significant achievement. The sustainability demonstrated with a third-party certification will help visitors choose more consciously what activities to carry out during their journeys in Dubrovnik, in a time when respect for the environment is increasingly important.
Congratulations again to the Dubrovnik Aquarium!