After the dolphinarium project was nixed by the environment ministry, the Greater Cochin Development Authority is now planning to build a marine fish aquarium on the land it owns near the High Court of Kerala.

“Union Ministry of Environment and Forests wrote to us to desist from setting up the dolphin park. So we promised not to proceed with the proposal. Instead, we got an offer from a leading hatchery to set up a marine fish aquarium,” said N. Venugopal, chairman of GCDA.

The proposal was approved at the last executive committee meeting. West Coast Hatcheries and Research Centre, which came forward with the proposal, was asked to submit a detailed project report. “Expressions of Interest will be invited on the basis of this report this week itself,” said Mr. Venugopal.

The proposed aquarium complex will have an underwater tunnel marine fish aquarium, a research centre & seminar hall, a 7-D theatre on fish species and an underwater restaurant. The estimated budget will be around Rs.18 crore, as against the budget of Rs.20 crore for the aborted dolphin park project.

“According to the preliminary proposal, more than a thousand species of marine fish will be brought in from different parts of the world. Once the project is approved, the construction can be completed in six months,” he said. The concept is to build tunnel under a huge water tank of 15 lakh litre capacity so as to create “an under sea experience”.

The GCDA is retaining the business model suggested for dolphin park, where the authority’s investment will be land.

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