Life originated in the oceans and the process of evolution has brought us to where we are now.

The theme of this IAC is: Progress and conservation: “The role of aquariums in protecting the aquatic environment”: -

“Let’s extend both our hands to protect it”

Some progress has been witnessed in protecting our aquatic environment, especially through efforts by aquariums in some developing countries. We still have a long way to go and conservation and protecting the aquatic environment is an urgent priority! We must nevertheless ensure that all environmental, economic and cultural aspects are taken into account to ensure that our actions are sustainable.

This is a serious but very difficult task. Aquariums are nevertheless undeniably the best instrument to inform the public at large about its actual status, its fragility and the positive actions we might take to mitigate these risks:
-     We carry the obligation on our shoulders to protect the world heritage that is vested in our aquatic environment –      that is the most precious and largest single component of our planetary solar system.
-     Improper management of this resource puts humanity and our planetary stability at risk.

It is therefore incumbent on us to act responsibly and as one voice. Only aquariums hold the keys to communicate best practise to decision makers, stakeholders and to the public at large!

In our 2004 conference the seeds were sown for the creation of a common worldwide aquarium platform to be born from the successful platform of the IAC and to be known as the International Aquarium Forum. This 2008 IAC marks the formal commitment of the aquarium community to this forum which, from today, with the full endorsement of this congress, will be our common voice.
It is not too late to make a difference but we have to act today not tomorrow!
Therefore aquariums under the auspices of the IAF should unite to:
-         use all possible resources to inform the public correctly.
-         use the positive emotional impact of an aquarium visit to stimulate communication of easy and understandable   messages to reach all ages.
-        work hand in hand with scientists and research institutes to communicate positive results of research to our public.
-        solicit collaboration of our public in ocean and aquatic environmental lobbying.
-        act together to raise awareness of the health of our oceans and aquatic environments to influence policies and actions on a planetary scale.
-        be more proactive in promotion of and participation in worldwide common actions such as e.g. ‘World Ocean Day’ on June the 8th of each year.
-        be present and influential in International global environmental forums such as the ‘Global Conference on Oceans’.
-       actively promote the IAF as an acknowledged and respected professional reference for aquatic environmental issues
-       combine their efforts worldwide in preservation as well as conservation.

“      Let’s work together to make this an even more beautiful ocean”