Kotor, Montenegro: The Institute for Marine Biology of the University of Montenegro inaugurated the Adriatic Biodiversity Conservation Center “Aquarium Boka” as its new organizational unit with a public aquarium and sea turtle rescue centre. The establishment of this centre is enabled by an investment totaling EUR 1.8 million, of which non-refundable funds of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs are EUR 0.75 million, the contribution of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of Montenegro from the World Bank loan for the realization of the Second Project of Institutional Development and Strengthening of Agriculture (MIDAS 2) of EUR 0.37 million, co-financing of the Public Enterprise in the amount of EUR 80,000 and co-financing from ERDF and IPA funds through the cross-border co-operation programme for Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro for the project “Explore Cross-Border Water Biodiversity – EXCHANGE” of EUR 0.43 million.
On the importance of the Aquarium Boka, Dr. Alexander Joksimović, director of the Institute, said: “This is a milestone for the Institute for Marine Biology, whose 60th anniversary we are celebrating this year. The establishment of the Aquarium Boka as our sixth organizational unit will further strengthen our capacities, and the first public marine aquarium in Montenegro will contribute to our activities to create a broad coalition to protect the Adriatic.
The Ambassador of the Kingdom of Norway to Belgrade, Mr Jørn Eugene Gjelstad, said, “With Norwegian support, through the Monteaqua project, the only public aquarium in Montenegro has been established to develop capacities for the preservation of biodiversity of water ecosystems in artificial conditions, which is important for ensuring the reproduction of endangered species“.
M.Sci. Aleksandar Stijović, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management in the Government of Montenegro, welcomed the first aquarium in Montenegro and noted that “it will be the main place for education about the living world of the Adriatic Sea, especially about vulnerable species seeking special protection”. The minister confirmed that “Montenegro will continue to be committed to intensive work to establish sustainable fishing and preserve a healthy marine ecosystem“.
Dr. Mirko Djurović, head of the Adriatic Biodiversity Protection Centre ” Aquarium Boka”, noted that the aquarium “will be an additional value to the tourist offer of the city of Kotor and Montenegro. We will strive to show all the lavishness and wealth of the living world of the Adriatic Sea, and for the youngest generations we will prepare a series of educational programmes to best educate future environmentalists and nature lovers.”
The Architectural Project for Aquarium Boka was developed by Studio Enforma from Kotor. The reconstruction of the Aquarium Boka building was carried out by the Company LD Gradnja from Nikšić, from December 2018 until April 2020. The aquarium tanks with supporting equipment were delivered and assembled by The Panaque company from Rome, Italy.
The Aquarium Boka has 16 tanks divided into four exhibition units: the World Sea and the Mediterranean Sea, the Adriatic Sea and the South Adriatic, and the Bay of Kotor and the tropical seas. At an outdoor exhibition in the Institute’s park, visitors will have the opportunity to learn about the invisible world of the sea, marine biology, sea pollution methods, and seafood as a food source.
The Aquarium Boka has already opened its doors to test-work in June 2001. In the first three months, the aquarium saw more than 8,000 visitors. An outdoor exhibition is expected to open by August 2022.
Cove photo: Mr. Denis Mešihović, Operations Officer in the World Bank Country Office in Montenegro; Dr. Aleksandar Joksimović, Director, Institute of Marine Biology, University of Montenegro; Dr. Milena Mičić, General manager, Aquarium Pula, Marine Turtle Rescue Centre; Mr. Mladen Mikijelj, Director, Public Enterprise for Coastal Management of Montenegro; M.Sci Aleksandar Stijović, Minister, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management; H.E. Mr. Jørn Eugene Gjelstad, Ambassador, The Royal Norwegian Embassy in Belgrade; Professor Vladimir Božović, Rector, University of Montenegro; Mr. Vladimir Jokić, Mayor, Municipality of Kotor; Dr. Sreten Mandić, former director, Institute of Marine Biology, University of Montenegro; Dr. Mirko Đurović, Head, Center for Adriatic Biodiversity Conservation “Aquarium Boka”, Institute of Marine Biology, University of Montenegro