SWAKOPMUND: Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Bernhard Esau officially reopened the National Marine Aquarium here on Thursday.
The aquarium is situated next to the National Marine Information and Research Centre (NatMIRC) at the tourist town.
The aquarium was constructed in 1995 as part of the second phase of the NatMIRC research complex.
Esau indicated that it was closed in July 2010 for major renovations which were finalised earlier this year at a cost of N.dollars 14 million.
The aquarium was also re-stocked with local marine species such as the 15-year-old kabeljou, as well as other rarer fish species.
The specimens were kept in custom-built quarantine tanks for safekeeping during the renovation process.
The minister explained that the quarantine tanks will be used in future to hold new species before these are introduced into the display tanks and also for treating sick animals in confinement so as to avoid contamination of other fish.
The Ministry of Fisheries also invested in the temperature systems at the aquarium, where a cooling plant the water in the tanks at the aquarium at 16 to 17 degrees Celsius.
Esau added that another major addition added to the aquarium was a ‘ray tank’, where visitors are now able to observe sting-rays in close proximity.
“This type of fish becomes very tame and may approach tourists for food in future, which is something the kids would enjoy,” he said.
In addition, wall and interactive floor projectors were installed.
“The new touch screen technology will provide general information about the aquarium and the marine environment to the public. The evolving product will be updated on a continuous basis to entertain and educate,” Esau mentioned.
Further developments include an upgraded water intake system at the jetty which will ensure that a raw supply of sea water for the aquarium will be sustained.
The vision behind initially creating the facility in 1995 was to bring the ocean and its inhabitants closer to the Namibian people as part of Government’s commitment to invest in the development of the country’s national quality infrastructure.
Since its inception in 1995, the aquarium has had a total of 642 000 regular visitors.
Esau invited members of the public, especially schools, families and tourists to visit the upgraded aquarium which will be open as from Friday.