At the end of the 11th International Aquarium Congress hosted by Nausicaá in Boulogne sur Mer, participants commit to working together for the Blue Planet
The 11th International Aquarium Congress (IAC) organised at Nausicaá from 30 October to 4 November 2022 under the aegis of the International Aquarium Network (IAN) brought together nearly 500 participants from all over the world to discuss the theme of aquariums taking action for the Blue Planet.
That event provided an opportunity for a common reflection on the role of aquariums.
In a world affected by global warming and the erosion of biodiversity, aquariums have a particular responsibility: in addition to raising visitors’ awareness, they now have an essential mission to encourage action in regard to the emergency state of the oceans. We know today that the future of human kind is linked to that of the ocean. The ocean covers 70% of our planet’s surface, produces 50% of the oxygen used each year by living beings, and stores 25% of the world’s CO2 emissions.
At the end of four days of work and more than 80 presentations, 200 aquariums from 5 continents formulated the following common commitments:
Aquariums, with 500 million visitors per year, are committed to raising awareness and mobilising their audiences in favour of the ocean.
Aquariums have recognised expertise in scientific communication on ocean-related issues. They provide an irreplaceable experience: an encounter with the living being and a sense of wonder and emotion. They can alert their audiences to the vulnerability of marine and freshwater biodiversity, inform and help them understand the links between human kind and the ocean, the blue economy and the preservation of natural balances.
Aquariums are committed to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, notably through the Decade of Ocean Science.
- They are privileged places of scientific culture. They produce and disseminate knowledge and they are educational places. For example, they relay information about major scientific expeditions to their audiences and communicate about their work.
- They support visitors’ willingness to act by proposing initiatives that contribute to the preservation of the ocean, such as the sustainable consumption of seafood or the reduction of plastic pollution.
- They support economic initiatives that contribute to the preservation and sustainable management of the oceans, such as creating laboratories and incubators for innovative projects.
- They are a force for mobilisation and action at the institutional level both nationally and internationally. They work for the recognition of the ocean as a determining factor for human development, for example within the COP – United Nations Climate Change conferences or ocean conferences.
- They contribute to research and the improvement of knowledge on reproduction, breeding, species biology and the ecology of natural marine environments, for a better preservation of aquatic biodiversity.
Aquariums are fully committed to untiring efforts toward positive actions on behalf of the Blue Planet that demonstrate our united resolve to:
- Strengthen the links between aquariums and other like-minded organizations around the world.
- Exchange know-how and experience on awareness-raising and scientific communication tools (exhibitions, animals, children’s programmes, festivals, events, etc.).
- Increase of ex situ breeding programs to increase in situ conservation initiatives.
- Minimize anthropogenic ecological impacts by committing to increased sustainability practices in areas of operation that include single use plastics, energy usage, animal acquisitions, and waste.
- Continue to improve the well-being of animals in our care.
- Mobilise our visitors to become engaged citizens through educational and scientific programmes and the organisation of exchanges and dialogues with stakeholders in the ocean world.