Public Aquaria

Public aquaria are institutions that mostly include aquatic animals. Since 1990, more than 100 public aquaria have been opened and their number keeps on increasing each year. This expansion reflects public enthusiasm, more and more sensitive to conservation 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.

The Standard

Friend of the Sea criteria for sustainable aquaria certification require:

  • ensuring the implementation of the Environmental Policy principles;
  • no captivity for birds, mammals and reptiles;
  • staff trained at Animal Welfare;
  • the Aquarium provides scientific information beside each display;
  • waste and energy management;
  • Social Accountability.
sustainable aquaria

Ornamental Species

The sustainable ornamental species certification refers to tropical marine and freshwater species kept at home and public aquaria. It is estimated that more than 2 billion live ornamental species are moved annually worldwide, including fishes, corals, crustaceans, molluscs, aquatic plants and live rocks.

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 programme for sustainable collection and farming of ornamental species.

The Standard

Friend of the Sea 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:

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


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

  • All the information will be kept strictly confidential and implies NO commitment on your company’s part.
  • The Friend of the Sea 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: