New-look marine aquarium thrown open to public

RENOVATED AQUARIUM: The renovated Marine Aquarium in Chennai on Thursday. — Photo: K. V. Srinivasan  

Special Correspondent

CHENNAI: Nearly eighteen months after it was completed, the renovated marine aquarium at the Marine Biological Station on the Zoological Survey of India premises was thrown open to the public on Thursday.

Renovated at a cost of Rs. 90 lakhs, the Singapore-style aquarium displays a rare collection of marine organisms such as cowfish, clown fish, moray eels, sea snakes, starfish, grouper, sea anemone and sea horses sourced from fishermen in Chennai and the Gulf of Mannar.

Inaugurating the aquarium, S. Kannaiyan, chairman of the National Biodiversity Authority, said it would give visitors and students, first-hand information about marine life and their habitat. With eco-tourism gaining momentum, the aquarium would serve a much-felt need.

The ZSI would soon decide on the entry fee and host competitive events such as quiz programmes on marine life, J.R.B. Alfred, Director, ZSI, said.

J.T. Jothinayagam, Officer-in-charge, Marine Biological Station and K. Venkatraman, member-secretary, National Biodiversity Authority were also present.

The aquarium houses 18 glass fronted tanks, each with simulated marine environment and modern filter systems. What the aquarium offers is a glimpse of the web of inter-connectivity among marine organisms like, for example, the sea anemones and the clownfish co-existing hospitably and the abundance of marine life a single coral can house.

The aesthetically laid-out air-conditioned aquarium, with state-of-the-art strategic lighting is the labour of love of scientists from the ZSI and engineers from the Central Public Works Department.

The aquarium will be maintained out of a Union Ministry of Environment and Forests grant and gate entry fee.