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Macduff Marine Aquarium opens new touch pools

By Staff Reporter

A popular exhibit at Macduff Marine Aquarium has been given a total makeover for the October school holidays and the start of Shark Season.

Picture: Eric Cormack. . Opening of new touch pools at Macduff aquarium..
Picture: Eric Cormack. . Opening of new touch pools at Macduff aquarium..

Visitors to the marine centre have always had a chance to get up close to hardy seashore creatures at the touch tanks, but the aquarium’s rocky pools were getting old and beginning to crumble so it was time to change them.

The aquarium successfully applied for funding from the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) and North East Scotland Fisheries Local Action Group (NESFLAG) to install new tanks and also to improve visual interpretation around the displays.

The project began with concepts and design for the new tank – it had to be attractive and work well as an interactive exhibit, allowing visitors easy access to the live animals – but also providing areas for the animals to rest out of reach from exploring fingers.

The particular challenge was to achieve all this, and for the tank to still fit in the space within the room. Aquarium staff worked with specialist technicians to come up with the bespoke and unique tank that did, in the end, fit through the doors and into place!

The specialists then applied rock theming to resemble the local geology and the tank is now up and running.

The starfish, hermit crabs, sea urchins and other creatures are getting used to their new environment.

In addition to the touch pools, a new shark hatchery has been installed, providing the optimum conditions for the development of baby sharks - the young dogfish and rays that breed at the aquarium.

Another new tank now houses the delicate invertebrates such as brittle stars and feather stars.

Aquarium manager, Claire Matthews, said: “This October is going to be ‘fin-tastic’ at the aquarium! Not only are we unveiling our lovely new touch pools and shark hatchery, we will be getting our teeth into British sharks for our annual Shark Season.

“This will involve shark-themed activities throughout the school holidays, including shark trails, shark craft, talks from real shark scientists and, of course, our baby dogfish will be on display in the new tank.

“We hope that visitors also notice that there are new digital displays around the aquarium too, helping to give a deeper understanding of the Moray Firth’s amazing coast and marine life.

“We are very grateful for the EMFF/NESFLAG funding and generous support from our Friends of Macduff Marine Aquarium for this project and we can’t wait to see what our visitors think of the changes.”

Chair of Live Life Aberdeenshire’s culture and sport sub-committee, David Cook, said: “Macduff Marine Aquarium is without doubt one of the north-east’s top attractions, providing a fun and informative day out for families living and visiting along Aberdeenshire’s north coast.

“This work to develop the facilities improves on what was already a great offering and gives yet another reason to make the trip to Macduff, get close to some of our native marine life and learn more about them from the aquarium’s knowledgeable and friendly team.”

Shark season runs from October 12-27. There are over 20 native species. Join in each day with fun activities, interactive workshops, stories, trails and crafts.http://www.macduff-aquarium.org.uk/events/2019/shark-season-2019-12th-27th-october

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