May 15, 2018 - The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, represented by the Norwegian embassy in Belgrade, awarded a scholarship contract to the University of Montenegro - the Institute of Marine Biology from Kotor - for the implementation of the project "Marine Biodiversity Conservation Center - Boka Aquarium - MonteAqua."
The project is implemented in cooperation with the Center of Fishing and Protection of the Biodiversity of Groundwater at the Institute of Biology and Ecology within the Faculty of Natural Sciences at the University of Kragujevac. The project implementation started on December 4, 2017, and the completion is expected on June 4, 2019.
The director of the Institute for Marine Biology, Mirko Đurović, recalled that this plan has been a wish over the years and that the Institute of Biology must finally open the door to the broader public, especially in educating the youngest people who are increasingly interested in the work of the Institute:
"In some way, we have been encouraged by this population to submit a project proposal to multiple addresses. Thanks to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Norway, who have recognized the importance of establishing such content in Montenegro. Through the Marine Biodiversity Center project, we will have a public aquarium that will be open to the public during the whole year. It will be located on the ground floor of the building, with mostly autochthonous species of the Adriatic and Boka bay, and for the harizmatic species, which will be a feature of the aquarium, we have chosen the Blue Shark. This is a type of a shark that lives in the Adriatic Sea, and it is endangered and often hunted but protected like all types of sharks. We have announced a competition for the winning solution for the visual identity of the aquarium, and Slobodan Vukičević made the best logo.
The primary role of the aquarium is to point out the need to protect all the endangered plants and animals through education, which will be open throughout the year for interested tourists and children to raise awareness and conservation. Through our activities, we established that the state of the marine ecosystem is growing year-by-year. Also, within the center, we will have a rescue center for sea turtles and other endangered species. Namely, that is something that only Montenegro on the Adriatic does not have. Although we are not very competent in these things, as we have had a lot of injured turtles, we have decided to take this step. We'll always have a couple of turtles we'll take care of, so it's a complicated job and we'll have to hire a veterinarian.
The project will also include the organization of a series of expert workshops that will support all decision makers such as the Ministry of Sustainable Development and Tourism and the Environmental Agency for easier preparations and negotiations of opening the Chapter 27 Environment. At the end of the project, a large Adriatic Biodiversity Conference will be held in March 2019 which will gather the most important names from the field of Mediterranean marine ecosystem protection. After that, if all goes well, we'll be opening the aquarium. I would like to mention that we plan to create an open-air museum in the courtyard of the Institute looking to Kotor, which would be the vanguard of entering the aquarium. We will also offer this idea to our donors because I don’t think it would require big money. Throughout this museum, we would like to present, above all, the traditional fisheries in Boka through the representation of traditional fishing boats, fishing nets, and how to farm mussels. We plan to point to the importance of renewable energy by using smart benches so we will connect tradition and modernism in many ways so future visitors can have a full spectrum on everything available in Boka and what they can expect for the future. This is still in the idea stage, but I think we will do it, and then we will create something whole that would include a museum and an aquarium. We would open the doors of the Institute to the general public for the first time after 57 years," concluded Đurović.
The aquarium will consist of four units: The entrance with a room: World and Meditational Sea, Central part: the Adriatic Sea and South Adriatic, Special section: Boka Bay and Exit: Tropical Sea.