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Toronto’s Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada Opening Update

Toronto’s new aquarium is on the verge of opening. Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada announced that it would open in September, but no actual date in September has been set, yet. However, in an unusual move, Ripley’s began selling timed tickets to the general public in a pre-opening promotion. What’s the catch? Well, a pre-opening ticket allows entry any day and any time after the official opening, and these types of tickets will be available only up until the opening date is announced, –  which has yet to be announced.

Once that opening date is announced then timed tickets will take effect. This means you will have to choose a date and a time to visit and the any time, any day option with its prices set at $29.98 for adults, $19.98 for children and seniors, and children 3 and under are complimentary with an adult guardian, will no longer be available. The new prices for anytime tickets will be confirmed once the opening date has been announced.

When the aquarium’s opening date has been announced, the regular timed tickets will be priced at $29.98 for adults, $19.98 for children and seniors, and children 3 and under are complimentary with an adult guardian. There will be no time limit on visits, even with a timed ticket.

Parking is available across the road at the convention centre. Including food and a souvenir one adult with two kids will probably spend about $100.00 for a visit, which is right in line with prices of other major aquariums, and very close to the same price as the Metro Toronto Zoo.

Let’s hope school group visits to the aquarium will give affordable opportunities to all children, in the tradition of the ROM, and lines of yellow buses will crowd the aquarium’s entry throughout the school year. The aquarium’s website is www.ripleysaquariumofcanada.com

Anybody remember their school trips to visit the ROM? Click on the link on the top right side and tell us about it.

 

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VIRTUAL “AROUND the WORLD CRUISE” SETS SAIL

Image | Pinterest | Art.com

Image | Pinterest | Art.com

Cruisingaquariums.com is embarking on a world tour of public aquariums. I’m launching our first cruise with ports of call starting in North America. We’ll travel all around the world! Each week we’ll feature a different public aquarium with pictures and commentary.

So “ALL ABOARD”, NO LIFE JACKETS REQUIRED, (and you can drink as much as you like!)

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BLACKFISH

I saw the movie Blackfish last week at the BELL| Lightbox theatre in Toronto.

It Premiered at the Sundance Film Festival this year and received awards.

 

The movie was partly an expose about the number of times trainers have been attacked by orcas while being held captive and the number of times trainers have been killed by orcas in their facilities.

The documentary, Blackfish, mostly  addressed the morals of whether Orcas should be held captive at all.

The focus is on Tillikum, the largest Orca living in captivity. It addressed the question of whether this one particular whale, known for killing trainers, should have been allowed to be sold and resold for public exhibition and for live breeding.

It reviewed the suggestion that his aggressiveness would be passed on genetically and it reviewed the opposing view that his aggressiveness was caused by his early kidnapping as a 2 year old, the trauma it caused to him due to the bombs and high speed chases conducted by the operators during his capture and the separation anxiety, loneliness and grief caused from being torn away from his mother and family pod.  It focused on his the confinement to a small tank blackened out with no light and no ability to move or swim for 2/3rds of his life. Physical bullying and bites by other Orcas not of his pod were a factor as well as his great size.

Orcas swim in pods and never leave their mothers.

Each pod has a unique language that they speak.

MRI’s conducted in science show their brain is highly developed and larger than humans, with an added extension outward of the brain that centres on emotion.

The movie solidified my thoughts that whales should not be held in captivity, and I for one am very pleased that the Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada will not exhibit whales.

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SHOULD SHARKS BE IN AQUARIUMS?

Most sharks are at the top of their food chain. They’re called apex predators and are critical in maintaining our marine environment. Many are open ocean shark species that travel long distances regularly in cycles and are considered to be migratory.

An example is the whale shark that migrates great long distances in the world’s oceans and has been recorded to travel over 8,000 miles (13,000 kilometres).

Crossing through man’s international water boundaries makes sharks vulnerable, and while researchers consider one third of all shark species as threatened, the migratory sharks are worse off with a figure of almost 50% considered threatened.

Since 2004 the Monterey Bay Aquarium has led a conservation, education and research program to save the great white sharks. It is famous for holding on display a great white shark that was viewed by the public for 198 days before she was released into the Monterey Bay.  It was the longest exhibit of a great white shark ever.

During the six and a half months nearly a million visitors saw the shark exhibit and in the words of the Executive Director of the Monterey Bay Aquarium the great white shark became “the most powerful emissary for ocean conservation in our history.”

Experts agree that sharks in captivity do not really follow their natural behaviour in the wild. For an animal used to swimming freely for hundreds of miles in cycles of migration being kept in even monster size water tanks could cause them extreme stress, and even risk of life. However, we know that shark behaviour in the wild is not free of man’s harm in other ways, the fact remains that 50% are threatened.

Exhibiting sharks or any living creature in captivity is an age-old dilemma to mankind.  Zoos have struggled with this for years. Can seeing and observing a living shark in an aquarium that strives to maintain it’s well being help save the species? Will my visit help fund the research that is necessary to save our marine environments?

Take a look at this video of the shark exhibition and conservation video http://youtu.be/caxzHsT9vXw  . It’s from the group at www.supportoursharks.com.  The site reports that 273 million sharks are killed by humans each year.

How do you feel about seeing sharks in aquariums? Have you seen one? Would you pay to go see a shark in an Aquarium. Would you be less likely to visit an aquarium if it did not have a shark exhibit?

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UPDATE on OPENING DATE: COMING SOON

Two more months until Toronto’s  Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada opens its doors. No exact opening date has been posted on its website yet, but that’s coming soon!

In the meanwhile, what would you like to see at the aquarium?

What would you like to see in this blog? Should I include home aquariums? Do you have a picture or home video of yours that you would like to post? What is your favourite fish? Does it have a name you gave it?

Give us your ideas and thoughts! Click on the reply button on the top left above this blog. Look forward to hearing from you!Screen Shot 2013-07-24 at 4.11.22 PM

 

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FISH FOOD: Should Aquariums Serve Fish in their Restaurants?

Seafood pasta

Fish is always considered a healthy choice to eat for most people.

Apart from vegetarians who don’t include seafood, almost everybody has eaten fish.Is it in good taste for aquarium restaurants to serve fish on their menus?

What about mollusks and crustaceans? Click on the reply button on the top left to share your views.

Over a year ago, the organization called PETA (people for the ethical treatment of animals) agued in a letter to Sea World to stop serving fish at their visitor food outlets because it aimed at promoting respect and conservation for marine animals.The Director of Campaigns at the time likened it to “serving poodle burgers at a dog show”

Hélène HofmanFebruary 1, 2012 13:38
Click here for the article.   

As an alternative, the Vancouver Aquarium has created a program called Ocean Wise. Based upon similar programs in aquariums around the world, it warns that the world’s marine life is being depleted and estimates that “ 90% of all large predatory fish are already gone from the world’s oceans”. Its focus is on consuming seafood in a sustainable manner.

Screen Shot 2013-07-24 at 3.33.03 PM

The Monterey Bay Aquarium has created SeafoodWatch, a sophisticated, solutions based sustainability program for restaurants and consumers of seafood to bring awareness, and support for sustainable fisheries and the use of aquaculture. http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/cr/seafoodwatch/web/sfw_restaurant_program.aspx

I came across the Vancouver Aquarium’s Ocean Wise program in Toronto at two separate restaurants. The first time, I was getting a lid for my coffee, and on the last occasion I was at the bar having a beer with friends.

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It was new information to me and caught me by surprise. I began to think it through from its perspective and felt for a moment satisfied that this was how I could make a commitment to being more fully engaged in marine ecology.

I know that fish are a better source of nutrition but I do not agree with shark tail soup. Fish farms are ok but we don’t want to farm non-native species in case they slip out of the nets and threaten the survival of our marine species.
Peta argues that eating fish is dangerous to our health because of pollutants in the ocean such as sewage and chemicals that may be absorbed into their flesh and then absorbed into our bloodstream. Another concern PETA has with fish taken from our lakes and oceans is related to rapid decompression. A quote in the article illustrates quite graphically the results of rapid decompression to fish.

Separate from the health concerns that lead from eating fish is the moral question. Do fish have feelings? Are we being cruel when we eat them? What about fish that eat fish?

This is another moral dilemma. At this point in time it is difficult to say. Where do we draw the line, hook and sinker?
Click the reply button on the top left hand corner to share your opinion. What do you think?

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