Thanks to support from the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (NESFLAG), Friends of Macduff Marine Aquarium and Live Life Aberdeenshire, the aquarium team will be installing a new interactive pool to replace the ageing touch pools and nursery in the sea-lab area. Visual interpretation around the aquarium will also be improved as part of this project, with the addition of some digital displays.
The works start at the beginning of September. The existing tanks will be removed from the sea-lab area, then internal repairs and redecoration will be carried out before the new tanks can be installed. The new interactive pool is being made by specialists in Weymouth and will be shipped up to Macduff on the back of a truck - fingers crossed it will fit through the front doors! It will then have to be plumbed in and themed on site.
A new tank to support the facility's shark and ray breeding programme will also be added, as well a cylindrical tank to make it easier for visitors to observe some of the more delicate creatures close up.
In addition, the funding has enabled improvement to the interpretation around the aquarium, and visitors should notice a few new digital displays that will help give a deeper understanding of the Moray Firth's amazing coast and marine life.
The aquarium team were delighted to be awarded the EMFF/NESFLAG grant and for the chance to upgrade the touch pools. The new pool will have improved accessibility for visitors, but will also allow rest areas for the animals on display. The touch pool demonstrations by aquarium staff will be enhanced by new underwater cameras which will give a close up view of the different critters.
The aquarium will remain open during the works - which will be completed in time for the October school holidays. There will be some disruption to the normal visitor flow around the building, as the sea lab area will be sectioned off during this time. There will be temporary touch pools set up in the meantime.