Further commitment to Conservation announced

by Nigel Brown Jun 26 2018 0     998
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November 6, 2017


Bosses at Clacton Pier have announced a stronger commitment to conservation and education as part of their community involvement over the coming years.

They want to encourage more young people to discover what goes on in the sea surrounding the 6.5 acre structure in a bid play their part in helping to protect wildlife.

The Pier has had a Seaquarium since the mid 1980’s and has also been home to Dolphins, Sea Lions and Nemo the Killer Whale.

When the Ball family took over the Pier in 2009 they were first to admit that the Seaquarium was a completely new venture to them but they have taken it on board and embraced the challenge.

Director Billy Ball said it had not been easy and when they bought the Pier the staff that had previously run the attraction left.

“We were interviewing for other posts and were lucky to find people with a real passion and interest in fish. One was a security guard and – with training - they helped us for two to three years before we were able to recruit more specialist staff,” he said.

“Over the years we have invested in improving the displays, upgrading the theming of the area and introducing new stock.”

Among the species currently at the site are Smoothhound Sharks, Red Bellied Piranha, Clown Fish, Terrapins and Turtles along with many other species of fish.

There are two full-time aquarists and records and paperwork have to be meticulously kept. The Pier works closely with a DEFRA vet and has to hold its own ethical review with an independent person taking part.

“Last year we built a new fish welfare unit and kitted it out with all the necessary equipment such as quarantine holding tanks for any new arrivals or for those that might be sick and need to be kept away from the others,” added Mr Ball.

“I think it is fair to say that Seaquarium does not pay for itself and is subsidised by other attractions on the Pier. With further investment and on-going improvements we hope that will change in the future.

“But it’s not just about the economics and we feel that we have an ethical responsibility. We are committed to educating all ages about what goes on in our waters.

“We make our livings from a business that’s address is 1 North Sea and we are becoming more passionate about conservation issues and want others to feel the same.”

Earlier this month the Seaquarium passed its latest inspection and has a licence that takes it through to April 2020.

It was granted by Tendring District Council and is a Licence to operate a zoo. It comes under the same legislation as places such as Colchester Zoo and Southend Sealife and there are strict rules to be followed.

As part of its report the Council noted a number of improvements – in particular the quarantine and laboratory area - as well as an ongoing improvement in the level of practical advice.

The staff involved were congratulated on their efforts at successfully maintaining their “small but unique aquarium.”

A total of 19 conditions were also imposed which need to be met to fulfil statutory obligations and this includes increasing participation in conservation and education activities.

“This has given us an added incentive and we will be working up some new activities, events and school involvement to ensure that we meet these obligations,” added Mr Ball.

“We want people to respect the wildlife in our seas to give all our species a better chance of survival. It is all about sustainability.”

As part of the commitment the Seaquarium will remain open every weekend throughout the winter – rather than be closed to the public. A conservation corner will be set up in the reception area and it is aimed to introduce more interaction, talks and booklets for children to fill out to increase their overall understanding.

Mr Ball said that it is important that if the Pier has a Seaquarium it is the best it can be and plays its part to promote important messages about conservation to the public.

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