From Monday 23 to Friday 27 October 2017 a total of 200 aquarium experts from 28 countries will partake in the 32nd European Union of Aquarium Curators (EUAC) Conference at Burgers’ Zoo. This year, the international association for public aquarium professionals celebrates its 45th anniversary and one of the key topics of the program is the future of public aquaria.
This edition of the international congress includes participants from 21 European countries as well as participants from 7 countries outside Europe, including USA, Japan, China, Australia, and Kenya. The Burgers' Ocean Tropical Aquarium of the Arnhem animal park is not only the largest grower of spotted eagle rays in the world, but also houses the second largest living coral reef aquarium in the world.
Because of the important topics on the agenda, the EUAC Conference 2017 will be visited by international aquarium professionals, zoo directors with aquariums, experts from the world of aquariums and specialists with a great deal of knowledge of filtering techniques and keeping aquarium animals. Although close international cooperation between EUAC members has been in place for 45 years, the organising committee of the EUAC wants to considerably intensify this cooperation. There already are successful international breeding programs in place for various shark and ray species, as well as a number of teleost species. The aim is to expand these international breeding programs considerably and to exchange more and more animals amongst each other. Animal transports between European and North American aquariums could possibly be intensified in order to jointly create animal populations with greater genetic variation.
Knowledge sharing between aquarium experts is particularly valuable to learn quickly and efficiently. For example, one topic on the agenda is on how to work safely with toxic fish species and experts also share practical examples from which important lessons can be learned. The global ‘plastic soup’ problem, the worldwide abundance of plastic waste that is dumped daily in the world's oceans, is also on the agenda. Public aquaria, in particular, can play an important role in informing their annual audiences, which together is millions of people. The WAZA (World Association of Zoos and Aquariums) and EAZA (European Association of Zoos and Aquaria) will also provide presentations to further intensify global collaboration and knowledge sharing.