Public Aquaria

Public aquaria consist in institutions that mostly include aquatic animals. The number of public aquaria increase each year. Since 1990, more than 100 have been opened. This expansion reflects the public enthusiasm, which is increasingly sensitive to conservation and sustainability.

As public aquaria develop, the need of the correct politics with the animal welfare arises. The right animals and technics can be used as a channel to reach the population by promoting sustainable attitudes and behavior.

The educational opportunities of these institutions can inspire people to be more environmentally friendly and know the real state of our aquatic environment. This potential reaches more than 150 million visitors each year, highlighting the importance of sustainable credentials.

The Standard

The Friend of the Sea criteria for sustainable aquaria require:

  • ensure the implementation of the Environmental Policy principles;
  • not hold in captivity birds, mammals, reptiles;
  • staff trained at Animal Welfare;
  • the Aquarium provides scientific information beside each display;
  • waste and energy management;
  • Social Accountability.

Ornamental Fish Trade

The ornamental fish trade refers to tropical marine species kept in home and public aquaria. It is estimated that more than 2 billion live ornamental fishes are moved annually worldwide, including fish, corals, crustaceans, molluscs, aquatic plants and live rock.

If managed sustainably, this trade 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 scheme for the sustainable collection and farming of ornamental species.

The Standard

The Friend of the Sea Ornamental Fish standard, which includes a Chain of Custody audit, helps protect and safeguard the natural environment.

The Friend of the Sea criteria for sustainable ornamental fish trade require:

  • non-destructive collection methods;
  • selective harvesting;
  • compliance with all Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species requirements;
  • no species to be harvested listed on the IUCN red list;
  • sustainable reef management plans including coral restoration;
  • community involvement and training.
Walt Smith International, based in Fiji, became the first company to gain Friend of the Sea certification for sustainable ornamental fish production.


Would you like to receive a quotation for Friend of the Sea’s audit and royalties to use our logo?
Please fill out the online Preliminary Information Form (PIF):

  • All information will be kept strictly confidential and implies NO commitment on your company’s part.
  • Friend of the Sea's certification is voluntary and NOT mandatory to gain access to markets.
  • The application process is NOT discriminatory on size, scale, management and minimum number of operators.
  • Friend of the Sea is a NGO and it strives to make participation in the audits affordable for all companies.
  • Please contact us for more information on Government funding which might be available in your Country for sustainability certifications: