The Ilfracombe Aquarium aims to provide opportunities for greater understanding and appreciation for aquatic life through the recreation of natural habitats and use of interpretation. It encourages the development of knowledge and aims to inspire visitors to engage with organisations that actively conserve the aquatic environment.
Animal welfare is regarded of paramount importance and is carefully considered continuously. Dedicated, qualified and experienced staff are committed to the welfare of the animals 365 days a year. Animals held in the collection are species that are proven to survive well in captivity. Acquisition is carefully controlled and carried out humanely. Once under our supervision, the animals are given the best possible care to achieve a long and natural life expectancy. A high quality of life is achieved through stocking in appropriate exhibits, the maintenance of water quality, the administering of appropriate diets, and specialist veterinary care. The aquarium team conduct regular ethical reviews covering all aspects of animal husbandry, record keeping and consult with a specialist fish vet to ensure everything is being done to secure animal welfare. Areas for improvements are always available. They are identified and actioned. The staff are encouraged to gain knowledge and skills through communications with colleagues within the aquarium industry.
The Ilfracombe aquarium (IA) is committed to conservation both directly and indirectly. Directly it is locally involved with cleaning and surveying Ilfracombe Harbour beach every year as part of the Marine Conservation Societys (MCS) Adopt a Beach program. It encourages research opportunities for students. Within the exhibition, captive breeding of some species occurs providing future animals for exhibits, lessening the reliance on wild specimens.
Indirectly the exhibition provides inspiration and opportunity for visitors to engage with conservation organisations. The IA promotes organisations that carry out conservation work e.g. the Environment Agency (EA), the North Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), the Devon Wildlife Trust (DWT), MCS, Shark Trust (ST), Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), Natural England (NE), and Marine Biological Association (MBA). It is actively involved in conservation campaigns such as MCS Marine Reserves Now (2009) and Your Seas Your Voice (2010). It also continues to promote the MCS Good Fish Guide. Also working with the MCS it has facilitated the Cool Seas Roadshow travelling to North Devon (2008, 2010). This is a school education program promoting marine conservation. To date it has engaged nearly 2000 local school children. With MSC it promotes the MSC brand and encourages consumers towards sustainable fish products. It has participated in activities such as DWT Rockpool rambles, the celebrations of 50 years of AONB (2010) and the friends of the COOP visiting Lundy (promoting the marine reserve) (2010). Through NE it promotes the Lundy Marine Conservation Zone and its benefits.
The Ilfracombe Aquarium conducts a responsible approach towards the environment. On the animal front an extensive approach to the stocking of the exhibits is conducted meaning that minimal numbers of animals are utilised for display purposes. Locally sourced animals are preferred and species of the IUCN conservation status of least concern are stocked. Most species are in fact data deficient as are non-commercial species. Since its inception in 2001 the aquarium has been implementing ways to reduce its impact. It recycles all paper, card, bottles, tins and some plastics. It has invested in the latest LED light technology and has streamlined its life support systems so as to reduce its energy consumption. It has invested in insulation and manages heat sources.
Its environmental impact will continue to be reviewed within the ethical review process with the continued aim of reducing its impact on the environment. It will in the near future look towards the viability of photovoltaic cells to provide green power. If funding comes available then it would be wonderful to commit to this technology.
We endeavour to promote and provide equal access for all. All staff are aware of the value of every visitor, trained to a high standard of customer care and are commited to meet customer needs.
We strive to treat all customers as individuals, are aware of specific visitor needs requiring our additional support and try to provide this at all times.
Future developments will be designed and planned with access in mind. Policies, Practices and Procedures with regard to the Disability Discrimination Act 1981 are frequently reviewed by our experienced staff.
We have signed up to the charter created by the Ilfracombe Access Group. Please access their website on www.ilfracombeaccessguide.co.uk for more information about this and information about access in Ilfracombe generally.