Public aquaria are the aquatic equivalent of a zoo, and are home to both freshwater and saltwater living aquatic animals and plants for the public to observe and enjoy. Since 1990, more than 100 public aquaria have been opened and their number keeps growing each year. This expansion reflects public enthusiasm, and an increasing awareness and sensitivity to conservation issues and sustainability.
As public aquaria develop, the need for correct politics with the animal welfare arises. The right animals and techniques can serve as a channel to reach the population by promoting sustainable attitudes and behaviours.
The educational opportunities of these institutions can inspire people to be more environmentally friendly and to know the real state of our aquatic environment. This potential reaches more than 150 million visitors each year, highlighting the importance of sustainable credentials.
Can public aquaria be green?
Yes – public aquaria can certainly be sustainable!
With this rapid growth of the public aquaria industry, we need to ensure that green aquaria are actively involved in conservation breeding programmes to maintain the sustainability of threatened ornamental fish species as well as the sustainability of our environment. Indeed aquaria have a responsibility to reach out to the population and teach them about conservation, sustainability and safeguarding the integrity of our aquatic resources.
It is estimated that public aquaria may attract as many as 450 million visitors a year!
The Standard for Green Aquaria Certification
Friend of the Sea criteria for sustainable aquaria certification require:
The sustainable ornamental fish species certification refers to tropical marine and freshwater aquatic species kept at home and in public aquaria. It is estimated that more than 2 billion live aquatic ornamental species are moved annually worldwide, including fishes, corals, crustaceans, molluscs, aquatic plants and live rocks.
If managed sustainably, this trade in wild caught ornamental fish and other aquatic life can support jobs in predominantly rural, low-income coastal communities, providing strong economic incentives for coral reef conservation in regions where other options for generating revenue are limited.
However, the trade of ornamental species for aquaria has the potential to add pressure to these ecosystems, by over-harvesting some species and damaging the coral reef.
That’s why Friend of the Sea has developed a certification programme for sustainable collection and farming of ornamental species.
The Standard for Ornamental Fish Sustainability
Friend of the Sea’s Ornamental Species Standard, which includes a Chain of Custody audit, helps protect and safeguard the natural environment.
Friend of the Sea criteria for sustainable ornamental species certification require: