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Primorye Oceanarium will host its first guests in June

Vadim Mikhailovich Serkov, Acting Director of Primorsky Oceanarium, Candidate of Biological Sciences. Serkov still an employee of the Institute of Marine Biology FEB RAS participated in the development of the concept and project of the Primorsky Oceanarium.

The initiative for its creation belongs to Russian President Vladimir Putin, who first discussed it in 2004 with the late director of the Institute of Marine Biology, Academician Vladimir Kasyanov. They say that the instruction to develop the project of the Oceanarium in Vladivostok was given by the President after a visit to Kazakhstan, where he learned that his own oceanarium was being built there, in the center of Eurasia, thousands of kilometers from the nearest sea. In 2006, three employees of the institute, including Serkov, studied in detail the experience of 12 Japanese aquariums. In 2009, we did an internship in the USA for three weeks, studying the experience of Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta and Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Primorye Oceanarium will host its first guests in June
The construction of the Primorye Oceanarium began in 2009. The dates of its opening were postponed several times.

There are about 100 oceanariums in the USA and Japan, or, as they are called abroad, public aquariums. There are 7 operating oceanariums in Russia. In 2006, the Planet Neptune Oceanarium was opened in St. Petersburg, its total volume is 1,5 thousand tons of water. In December 2009, Sochi Discovery World began work in Sochi, its total volume is about 5 thousand tons of water. In 2015, the largest oceanarium in Russia, Moskvarium, was opened in Moscow.

Primorsky Aquarium will be the largest "public aquarium" in Russia. The total volume of water in the "Primorsky Aquarium" will be about 25 thousand tons, of which 11 thousand tons will be for aquariums with fish and invertebrates and about 14 thousand tons - for pools for marine mammals. The largest oceanarium in the world is located in Atlanta (Georgia, USA). Its total volume is about 30 thousand tons.

The Primorsky Oceanarium is located on Russky Island, on the shores of the Paris Bay, and Akademik Kasyanov Street leads to it. The oceanarium that has not yet been commissioned is protected as a space object.

- Vadim Mikhailovich, it has just been announced that the National Scientific Center for Marine Biology has been created, which includes the Institute of Marine Biology, the Primorsky Oceanarium and the Far Eastern Marine Reserve. I would like to think that this amalgamation will not lead to staff cuts and funding.

- The task of the center is to create new opportunities for conducting fundamental and applied research in the field of ocean studies. The association will allow accumulating the efforts of scientists and other specialists and will give a synergistic effect in the development of marine biology in our country. No staff reductions are planned for the merger. Funding will not decrease. Moreover, it is assumed that funds will be allocated for the purchase of high-speed boats for the marine reserve, which will make it possible to better protect the protected water area. Our oceanarium is not only an entertainment facility, we are faced with serious tasks in the field of science and education.

- Can you say when it will be open to the public?

- We plan to open in early June. There is Children's Day and Russia Day. And I would like it to be a holiday not only for residents of Vladivostok. This is a significant object for the entire region, it, like a locomotive, will accelerate the development of tourism infrastructure in the region and attract tourists from neighboring countries.

- Will it just be a rally with a ribbon cut? Maybe a walrus will tear it with a fang, or a whole big holiday?

- There is a script. We have attracted companies that have experience in organizing such events, including those that took part in the preparation of the 2012 summit in Vladivostok.

- How many guests can the oceanarium receive?

- According to the project - up to 2 million tourists a year.

- There are fewer inhabitants in Primorye now.

- The Oceanarium is being created for the future. For development. And this is a bar for several years ahead, provided that the tourist attractiveness of Vladivostok will develop. The attendance of large zoos and aquariums in the world is from 1 to 3 million visitors per year. When the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California was just under construction, they expected 600 visitors a year. It is on this figure that we are guided. But they have California behind them .... The attendance of such objects in the first years is usually increasing, then it stabilizes and begins to decrease. Therefore, usually through 4-5 years, a change of expositions begins, something is rebuilt, something is updated in order to again attract the attention of the public. And we have foreseen this: we have opportunities for the development of our oceanarium, both outside and inside. Outside, we have a large territory, a park where you can walk all day, and inside we will arrange temporary new exhibitions. We even have preliminary plans for what we will do in five years.

- Who can get to the opening? Only honored guests and VIPs or ordinary residents of Primorye? For example, will there be pre-sale tickets?

- I hope everyone can get in. We will work out this mechanism together with the administration of the Primorsky Territory. At the initiative of the governor, an organizing committee has been created to prepare for the opening, and specialists will help us determine how best to prepare this event. We are planning to conduct trial tours for residents of the city in May in order to test our readiness.

- It's like in a theater: there is a dress rehearsal, then the surrender and run to the public, and only then the premiere?

- Yes, to some extent. We are planning to conduct these test tours for different population groups. For the elderly, for junior schoolchildren, for parents with children of different ages, for people with disabilities ... To understand if we have foreseen everything that can be corrected. We conducted similar excursions in September after the President's visit for the families of our employees, because they had never been here. And they took into account the first remarks: in some places they added a rail, where the elderly people said that it was difficult for them to go down. On the slopes around the hull, a fence was placed so that no one fell from the steep slopes. We hope that the public visits in May will also be very helpful.

- What programs for visitors are you planning?

- There are many options for visiting the aquarium. A person can just buy a ticket and come for an individual walk, or he can order an excursion. Educational programs will also be planned. We have a fairly large block of premises where classes for schoolchildren and students are provided. It is possible to take a living object and place it under a microscope. For example, if you scoop up sand from a beach and bring it wet, then under a microscope and displaying an image on a large screen, you will see how rich and diverse the living world is in this handful of sand. Experienced specialists will immediately tell you what kind of animals they are, what their life cycle is ... Some of the guides are full-time employees, but during the peak season additional people will be involved under different conditions. It can be both specialists and volunteers. We hope that students who need to come to practice will be of great help to us. Students from Dalrybvtuz, FEFU, Ussuriysk Agricultural Academy already come to us for practice ... In addition to general sightseeing tours, more in-depth, thematic ones have been developed. After all, even the passage through the aquarium at a leisurely pace takes more than an hour, and that's not counting the park around. And if you stop near each aquarium and look at its inhabitants, then this hour can be spent in only one exposition and it will still seem a little to you ...

In addition to various excursions, we plan special programs. For example, “night at the museum” has become popular, but here you can spend “night at the aquarium”.

- Hopefully not with a snorkel and a mask?

- Of course not, the night is next to the aquarium ... Often friends, or schoolchildren of the same class buy tickets for such events. They come in the evening after closing, they give an excursion, show a popular science film, feed them dinner and put them to bed ... People come with their sleeping bags and pillows. They lay in front of a large glass, behind which fish swim, the lights go out slowly ... In the morning they wake up, they are fed breakfast and are seen off.

"What other ideas?"

- Those that have been tested in the world. For example, an excursion, let's conditionally call it "tour behind the scene" to show how the oceanarium functions. After all, the life support system of our inhabitants occupies up to half of the total area. The oceanarium is to some extent a fish factory, only more complex. Because the fish factory is usually grown monoculture - sturgeon, trout, and here there is a huge number of species, each of which requires its own conditions of keeping.Therefore, each basin is designed and created its own systems.The engineering service is very large and very important.

In addition, various corporate events can be held in the oceanarium. Watch the performance of dolphins and go to the buffet tables. And for weddings - we have a beautiful pavilion with a good view of the Ussuri Bay. This is all popular everywhere in the world. For children - its own cafe and two large playgrounds with attractions.

“But there are only three months left. And the expositions are still empty, it seems to me that it will be extremely difficult for you to make it. There is already water in the aquariums, but so far there are only goldfish. Will you have time to enter all the exposures?

- The most important thing is that all engineering life support systems are ready. Goldfish are part of the testing process and are needed for the maturation of microorganisms in biofilters.

The contracts for the supply of fish have been concluded and these supplies will begin in the near future. It will be several parties that will first go through quarantine in the research and adaptation building, and if everything is normal, they will be transferred to the pools of the main building. Our task is not to introduce any infection into the new pools. Although different schemes are used in the world, for example, the "Georgia Aquarium" was populated very quickly, without prior quarantine, and they brought parasites into the exposition pools, which are now constantly being fought. We would like to avoid this struggle in the future.

- Who do you work with?

- Aquariums are a rather narrow professional field of activity, and all specialists know each other, exchange information and animals. We have good contacts with our Japanese and American colleagues and we are very grateful for their advice. They have come a long way, and we are only at the beginning.

- You will get some of the animals from your colleagues, but where can you get wild fish, bring them from coral reefs?

- People go to aquariums not only for exotic things. There are certainly expositions presenting the inhabitants of their local waters. For us, these are salmon, navaga, pollock, crabs and other local species. Salmon is an interesting object about which you can tell a lot of interesting and informative things. We have two large exhibitions dedicated to native species. One is called the Amur River and Lake Khanka. These are freshwater inhabitants. The other is the "Far Eastern Seas of Russia", which are fish of the Japanese, Okhotsk, Bering seas, squid, octopuses, trepangs, crabs, etc. We can catch these animals ourselves or collect them with the help of fishermen. We have already established such cooperation, the fishermen give us the most interesting fish that they come across. Many tropical migrants enter the Peter the Great Bay at the end of summer. This is a fairly large group of fish: garfish, or saber fish, tuna, lakedra, puffer fish, triggerfish ...

- What else will be here?

- Very interesting exposition "Tropical rain forest". Plants, and between them aquariums. The few visitors who saw it were very impressed. This is a mix of living and artificial plants, it is almost impossible to distinguish dummies, they are made with exceptional accuracy. We got this idea from the Japanese Aquarium Fokushima Aquamarine, located in the prefecture where in 2011 there was a strong earthquake and tsunami. By the way, the oceanarium survived, although it is located on the very shore of the sea, and the tsunami covered it. The Oceanarium was quickly restored.

- Interestingly, it turned out to be stronger than the protective structures of the nuclear power plant ...

- When we saw this exposition with a tropical forest, we really wanted the residents of Vladivostok to feel in the tropics in winter, when it is cold and gray in our country, to plunge into the atmosphere of the jungle, because not everyone can go to Malaysia or Thailand for the New Year holidays.

There are expositions dedicated to Lake Bakal, the Arctic and Antarctic, there is a grandiose exposition called "Ocean Abyss". Large pool with large ocean fish, sharks. And the tunnel that leads to this exposition, and behind the glass - the fish of the coral reefs. In the tunnel there is a stepless moving walkway - a travelator. It is not needed to keep people from getting tired. And in order to "take out visitors" and not create a "traffic jam".

- An oceanarium without a dolphinarium is nothing. He collects the maximum audience, emotions. I saw a huge pool, I also saw open areas in the bay, where beluga whales are now kept. Will they be the main actors?

- Let me disagree with you. There are many oceanariums in the world where there is no dolphin circus. I will give just one example. In Japan, on the island of Hokkaido, there is an aquarium on a small river that contains only native fish species. But twice a year the Japanese go there from the southern islands to watch the salmon run for spawning in the fall, and the rudd run in the spring. The viewing windows of the oceanarium overlook the river from the underwater gallery. People can sit on a bench and watch the mesmerizing sight of fish spawning.

And now about the dolphinarium. The most important ones there are trainers and veterinarians. We train coaches ourselves. Our late head coach, Yury Yuryevich Kravchenko, set a high standard in the training of specialists. We are preparing a program for a demonstration performance and hope that we will succeed. Spectators will see beluga whales, and I hope they will see dolphins and pinnipeds.

- And the last question. You have an iconic character, a walrus, who has already congratulated Primorye residents on the New Year, who else can become a symbol of the aquarium? Maybe a sea otter, maybe a perch-auha?

- Belukha. It is a friendly, intelligent animal that lives in the seas of Russia.

ER Help:

The cost of the construction project of the Primorsky Oceanarium according to the conclusion of the State Expertise is 15,5 billion rubles.
According to media reports, the construction of the Primorsky Oceanarium began in 2005 on the instructions of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Its construction was carried out by the Presidential Administration (UDP) at the expense of the Konstantinovsky charitable foundation.

The initial cost of the oceanarium was estimated at $ 233,6 million (about 8 billion rubles). But the transfer of the aquarium to the island, the inclusion of the required number of necessary facilities, and the refinement of the construction parameters more than doubled the initial cost. Now the cost of the entire complex with equipment and aquatic organisms, according to the GGE, is approximately 19,5 billion rubles.

The design and construction was carried out by a consortium of Taiwanese company Huang Green Country Industrial, general designer Primorgrazhdanproekt, general contractor Kassandra LLC. At the beginning of 2010, a problematic situation developed at the facility - the project was not developed for five years. The Taiwanese company announced its withdrawal from the project, and the general contractor performed the work only during the preparatory period.

According to the project, the aquarium in Vladivostok on the Russky Island should be built with an area of ​​37 thousand square meters, including a dolphinarium - an area of ​​765 square meters. m., water volume 14 cubic meters. m., It will include 490 aquariums and tanks with a water volume of 14 100 cubic meters. for 169 thousand individuals of invertebrates, fish and birds.

For comparison:
Oceanarium "Planet Neptune", St. Petersburg: area 5 thousand square meters. m., the volume of water in the aquariums is 1 cubic meters, the construction cost is $ 500 million. Sochi Discovery World, Sochi: an area of ​​16 thousand square meters. m., the volume of water is 7.5 thousand cubic meters. m., cost 5 million dollars Oceanarium in the shopping and entertainment center RIO, Moscow: area 25 thousand sq. m. water volume 2.5 cubic meters. m., cost $ 1 million Oceanarium in the shopping and entertainment center City-Park Grad, Voronezh: area 100, 18 thousand sq. m., water volume 4 cubic meters. m., cost $ 450 million
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