Turning the Tide
WAZA mobilizes World's Aquariums to maximize their potential towards conserving biodiversity
Gland, Switzerland: WAZA (World
Association of Zoos and Aquariums) officially launches the first Global
Aquarium Strategy and its Japanese translation, on October 28th, 2010 during
the 10th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)
in Nagoya, Japan.
Entitled `Turning the Tide: A Global Aquarium Strategy for Conservation and
Sustainability', it is the Aquarium Community's first coordinated
response to reducing biodiversity loss in marine and freshwater ecosystems.
aquariums strive to foster in our visitors an appreciation of the magnificent
range of life in our oceans and river systems," says Mark
Penning, WAZA President. "Life on earth depends on these systems being healthy.
We are inextricably linked, and healthy oceans, rivers, lakes and estuaries
mean healthy people. For your sake, and for your children's sake, listen to
what we have to say."
Public aquariums are
already actively engaged in a large, diverse, and ever-expanding programme of
conservation and sustainability initiatives from conservation breeding through
to the restoration and re-stocking of natural marine and freshwater habitats.
Earlier this month, WAZA released the results of the first global appraisal of
its members` worldwide projects. The essential contributions that zoos and
aquariums are making to biodiversity conservation were clearly
"As an official partner organization of CBD,
WAZA is proud to launch the Global Aquarium Strategy on behalf of its members."
says Gerald Dick, WAZA Executive
Director. "Aquariums have an
essential role to play in conserving water related species. And they currently
respond to threats such as global warming by working on coral reef
conservation. This new strategy details
the concrete steps that the world's aquariums will take to coordinate and
increase their impact in these and other areas in the future. "
Over 200 million
people visit the World's 300 Aquariums each year. Public aquariums, in partnership with other
organizations, have a massive potential to tackle global issues in conserving
aquatic biodiversity and water resources, alongside issues in fisheries,
environmental management, aquatic animal welfare, human development and poverty
alleviation. In Japan, JAZA (Japanese Association of Zoos and Aquariums)
endorses the new Global Aquarium Strategy as the only way forward for Japanese
biodiversity conservation is a top priority for JAZA. We currently support aquatic conservation and
zoo field projects such as the Tsushima Leopard Cat Project," says Mr. Shigeyuki Yamamoto, JAZA Chairman. "The
role that Zoos and Aquariums play in conservation is not yet well defined in
Japan. However, thanks to this new
strategy, the tide is turning in Japan.
JAZA commits to supporting its members in making
this strategy a reality."
Article 8 of
the CBD calls for the development of protected areas as a primary ‘in situ’
conservation tool, while Article 9 of the CBD calls for complementary ‘ex situ’
measures aimed at the recovery of threatened species and their reintroduction
into natural habitats. Zoos and Aquariums are repositories of genes
and species that have been lost in the wild,
a modern Noah’s ark of life on Earth.
As species continue to become extinct in the short and mid-term, there
will be an increasingly pressing need to preserve biodiversity in zoos and
aquariums and to draw on the expertise of these institutions for eventual
possible reintroductions into the wild.
An example of community based conservation
initiatives that has spread globally and has strong public aquarium links is
‘Project Seahorse’ in the Philippines. Project seahorse has been working with
local communities in the Philippines and elsewhere to set up voluntary marine
protected areas and to bring the harvest of seahorses to a sustainable level,
creating what was the first internationally managed programme for a marine fish
within the public aquarium community. www.projectseahorse.org
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