Further commitment to Conservation announced

  • 26 June, 2018
  • On the pier


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

“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

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

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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