THE Sharjah Aquarium, located in the Al Khan area of the emirate, provides visitors with a rare glimpse into the mysterious marine life of the United Arab Emirates.
Opened in June by His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan Bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, visitors can tour the aquarium and follow the paths through different marine ecosystems including those deep in the depths of the sea. More than 30 different species are on display.
Manal Ataya, director of the Sharjah Museums Department said, “The opening of the aquarium is in keeping with the directives of His Highness to ensure that Sharjah Museums are among the best in the world and have diversity and richness in their varied collections.”
She said that the aquarium, the result of British and local collaboration over the past two years, provides a unique experience and one not to be forgotten. The aquarium is among the best in the world with its state-of-the-art technology and underwater collection.
The Sharjah Museums Department is dedicated to providing information about the fish, their lives and their habitats, and to this end, has complemented the showcases with documentaries on the marine life of the UAE, displayed on large, electronic screens.
Ataya said that her department’s strategic plan included a target to upgrade and enhance all of Sharjah’s museums in a bid to preserve the heritage of the emirate. This included preparing the necessary studies to upgrade the museums, providing specialised courses to qualify local employees, undertaking field research as required, preparing development programmes, stimulating cultural and tourist events, and encouraging innovative thinking.
These undertakings were designed to create a link between today’s new generation and the deep-rootedness of the past, as well as developing co-operation with other world class institutions and organisations around the globe.
She also mentioned that the department will be opening the Sharjah Maritime Museum in the coming months. This museum will showcase Sharjah’s maritime past and present, including the earlier era of pearl diving, the different methods adopted, the obstacles encountered, the treasures found and the hardships endured.
Ismail Al Hamadi, assistant curator of the Sharjah Aquarium added that the main aim of the aquarium was to be educational as it focuses on the characteristics of marine life in the United Arab Emirates.
He said that while the aquarium currently had over 30 species, and this included some species of sharks, the plan was to increase the number of species to more than 50 in the next few months.
He added that the aquarium is also dedicated to the preservation of marine life and to learning more about reproductive and environmental issues according to the directives of HH, Ruler of Sharjah.
For example, after an aquarium tour visitors will see a display of mangrove trees, essential in preserving the environment. Al Hamadi said that the rare species of fish had specialised divers looking after these precious species.
The aquarium has provided a comfortable area for visitors, overlooking Al Khan Creek.
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