Plans afoot to revive aquarium at Marina


The facility, set up in October 1909, was damaged in the tsunami

The city’s landmark Marina beach will get yet another attraction — a world-class aquarium.

It will come up at the same spot where the earlier one stood, near the swimming pool. The Tamil Nadu Fisheries Development Corporation has called for tenders for the appointment of a consultant, who will study the feasibility for setting up an aquarium in public-private-partnership mode on revenue sharing and design-build-operate-transfer basis.

Sources in the Fisheries Department said that several consultants had participated in the pre-bid meeting for the tenders. “We hope to make it a world-class aquarium with predominantly marine fishes and also a section on freshwater fishes. The earlier aquarium was damaged in the tsunami,” said an official source.

According to The Hindu archives, the Marina aquarium is the oldest in the country and was set up in October 1909.

Many phases

For the first 10 years, it was under the control of the government museum and then was transferred to the Fisheries Department.

Originally, it was designed as a marine aquarium with provisions for circulating sea water.

During World War II, it was closed for some years and reopened in August 1955 as a freshwater aquarium. Later, a few tanks of marine fishes were added, said a report that appeared in October 1991. It was here that for the first time a seahorse was bred in captivity in July 1986 in the city.

Old-timers remember it as a place they have visited with their family. Ecologist Sultan Ahmed Ismail said for a city like Chennai, a large aquarium — with a research centre, guides, short-term courses and plenty of extension activities involving children — was very important.

“The Zoological Survey of India does have an aquarium but I am not sure how many people visit the place. The Marina however, would be a very apt spot for one,” he said.

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Printable version | Jan 29, 2020 10:07:00 AM |

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