North’s Priceless pearl.
It has been reported that Exploris, Northern Ireland’s aquarium at Portaferry on the shores of Strangford Lough is under threat due to the collapse of a financial rescue plan. Ards Borough council planned to sell the aquarium to “Blue Reef Aquariums”. However the plan has failed due to the Spanish firm Aspro taking over Blue Reef. Investing in Exploris does not meet with Aspro’s investment plans. Exploris has cost Ards council £ 7 million since 1992 and has lost £ 632,751 this year. That leaves Ards council with the challenge of finding a new investor or finding the resources itself to develop Exploris. The facility provides an exciting view of the riches within Strangford, from sea urchins to rays, all the species in between not to mention the birds and seals.
Strangford Lough is one of Northern Ireland’s greatest natural living assets. The local community, wider public and tourists need to know about its riches. Exploris, the sea life centre in Portaferry, can make a huge contribution to educating the public about the natural living riches of the Lough.
Exploris can add vital communication, educational and research facilities and is a vital cog in the sustainability of Strangford Lough. A sustainable development plan for Exploris would not only benefit Portaferry but the whole Strangford region and Northern Ireland in general. A leading global centre for sustainable development of natural living assets would be a great prize for any investment. It is ironic that the Spanish company, Aspro, have pulled the plug by initiating the sell off since the Spanish are well known for fully exploiting their common fisheries negotiated share of Fish quota in European waters. Strangford Lough deserves to be managed sustainably to achieve biodiversity and abundance and Exploris is a vital component.
Natural Living Assets
58 Central Avenue
07852 685 854