Global aquarium congress in Iwaki closes with vow to prevent ocean pollution

11 November 2018

The four-day 10th International Aquarium Congress (IAC) 2018 held at Onahama Fish Market in Iwaki city, Fukushima Prefecture, closed on Nov. 10 after adopting a declaration pledging to step up activities to stem mounting pollution of the marine environment by microplastics. It came after final keynote speeches and related sessions.

The declaration said responsibility rests with humankind to conserve the ecological system of the water environment for the future of mankind and nature. It was read out by Paul Van den Sande, chairman of the IAC’s Steering Committee and executive director of the European Union of Aquarium Curators, and adopted with applause from participants.

Yoshitaka Abe, director of Aquamarine Fukushima, said that protection of not only the ocean but also mountains and rivers leads to a bountiful sea, calling for treading a path toward "a return to the era of Jomon" that will bring the natural environment closer to how it used to be.

In one of the keynote speeches, Masaru Asaishi, a former Tokyo City University professor who designed Aquamarine Fukushima, spoke on the theme of "Aquarium Design and Construction." Referring to the glass-walled Aquamarine Fukushima, he briefed the audience on the objective of adopting such a rare outer appearance for an aquarium, among other things.

Suzanne Gendron, executive director of zoological operations and conservation at Ocean Park Hong Kong, delivered a speech themed on the "Economy of Aquariums." She introduced the aquarium's efforts to increase visitors, stressing the importance of keeping aquariums economically sustainable and improving exhibitions.

The next IAC session is scheduled for 2021 in France. At the closing ceremony, European participants drew attention to the next congress by waving national flags. A gala party followed at Aquamarine Fukushima.

Photo: Paul Van den Sande, chairman of the Steering Committee of the 10th International Aquarium Congress 2018, reads out the declaration.

(Translated by Kyodo News)