Seaquarium in Florida
When the newly refurbished Miami Seaquarium in the United States re-opened this month, it was with the “help” of the waters of the Cretan Sea, thanks to the efforts of John McLaren, creator of Aquaworld in Hersonissos, Crete’s first public aquarium.
Located in south Florida, the hugely popular 50-year-old Miami Seaquarium was severely damage during last year’s hurricane Wilma, which devastated the south-eastern area of the United States.
As part of its rededication ceremonies, Seaquarium officials decided to re-open its 2.5 million litre “dolphinarium” with a sampling of waters from the “Seven Seas.” To represent the Mediterranean sea, the officials contacted Mr. McLaren of Aquaworld, who readily agreed to assist in the Miami ceremonies. Mr. McLaren collected a sample of the crystal-clear Mediterranean water from just outside the harbour of Hersonissos and sent it by courier to Miami.
“I was delighted to be selected to participate in the ceremonies, even if it’s like David helping Goliath,” Mr. McLaren said, referring to the fact that his Aquaworld is so much smaller than the Miami Seaquarium, one of the largest in the United States.
“I felt it was important that, not only the Mediterranean as a whole, but the waters around Crete in particular, become part of the Florida ceremony to help promote our island and its wonderful unpolluted sea.”
Aquaworld was also called upon recently to assist in another international program – a research project being conducted by the University of Zurich.
Dr Georg Ribi and Master of Science candidate Samuel Tanner were here on Crete hoping to find specimens of the Astropecten aranciacus – a seastar which is becoming rare in many parts of the Mediterranean. Here in Crete, however, with the help of Aquaworld aquarium, Dr Ribi was able to find sufficient specimens to carry out DNA research on the species.
“Seastars seem to be plentiful here,” Mr. McLaren said, “and this is perhaps another testament to the clean waters of Crete.”
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