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Under the theme “Conservation Challenges In the Red Sea”

FAKIEH AQUARIUM HOSTS ITS FIRST INTERNATIONAL MARINE LIFE SEMINAR

Local and international speakers present varying perspectives on preservation of the Red Sea environment and how best to sustain it.

Jeddah, September 9, 2015: Raising its profile in the public eye and furthering its involvement in the international world of aquariums and marine biology, Jeddah’s Fakieh Aquarium hosted its first international marine life seminar under the theme: “Challenges of Marine Life Conservation in the Red Sea”.

The seminar was attended by marine aficionados and members of the public who have taken a special interest in the aquarium and its activities.

“We want the aquarium to be a crossroads of education, entertainment and serious study of what lives beneath the surface of the sea and how best to conserve it,” said Mr.Jamil Attar, Executive Director of Tarfeeh Fakieh. “This symposium is part of the process of achieving that. We have wonderful relations with the public, the schools and marine biologists, and what a magnificent thing it is to be able to bring them all together here.”

Following opening remarks by Mr. Attar, numerous experts took to the dais to speak on various aspects of Red Sea life and the role of Fakieh Aquarium in promoting awareness of the Red Sea and vital issues pertaining to it.

Professor Michael Beruman of KAUST, a Fakieh Aquarium research partner, described the overall environmental conditions of the Red Sea, proposing methods for controlling pollution that is only exacerbated by the Red Sea being one of the hottest marine geographical areas in the world. In addition to the well-known effects of pollution, Professor Beruman also delineated the pressure exerted by overfishing and increased aquaculture. He praised the role of Fakieh Aquarium in raising public awareness of the environmental issues associated with the Red Sea and conserving marine life, through public outreach programs formulated by the aquarium.

Dr. Francesco Cardia, from FAO, addressed the pluses and minuses of cage aquaculture in the Red Sea. Although promoting such aquaculture, Dr Cardia discussed how to reduce its negative impact by formulating regulations for its development, as well as coming up with bio-security guidelines.

Mr. Jose Ignacio Cobo of Clear Reef spoke about the difficulties of replicating a natural environment for marine life in captivity, presenting a history of humans keeping sea life that reached back to the Sumerians in 2500 BC. He urged the general public to educate itself on the nature of marine species while strongly supporting aquariums as places of entertainment and education where children can become ocean-literate and engage in efforts to sustain the marine environment as they grow older.

Mr. Bernardo Nascimento, working at the Fakieh Aquarium, presented his topic, entitled “Obtaining Good Water Quality for Marine Specimens – Life Support Systems Management.” He presented many of the details that need be taken care of in order to maintain good water quality and consistent feeding habits. He also threw his support behind Fakieh Aquarium’s goal of “edutainment,” praising the aquarium for its rescue of a criticallyendangered Hawksbill turtle, and urging it to join forces with the Ministry of Agriculture and KAUST to conserve the Red Sea.

The Fakieh Aquarium, originally conceived as providing a window onto Red Sea aquatic life, has broadened its mandate to embrace the display of species not native to the Red Sea, including some rare fish found in few aquariums around the world.

Now, with this first international seminar, the Aquarium has furthered its profile as a responsible and active member of the aquarium community and distinguished itself as a place where scientific inquiry and the smiles of young children go hand-in-hand.

     

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