Monday, July 13, 2009

An Octopus' Garden

On July 12 the Ucluelet Aquarium hosted the Annual General Meeting after hours. Philip Bruecker, Founder & Chair of Building Committee, and Mark Cunnington, Director, discussed the plans and fiscal opportunities for the new permanent facility. Mark Cunnington also outlined the plans for the heat pump system that will be used. Many thanks to the approximately 50 people that were able to attend. Other business covered included the re-election of the Board of Directors, and a casual meet and greet.

The Giant Pacific Octopus is growing rapidly and is now settling in the larger rockfish tank. In this tank the numerous rocks allow for natural den building activities and the abundance of various animals allow our octopus to display more extreme hunting behaviours. Even though the rockfish and greenlings in this tank are palatable for an octopus the presence of the tastier red rock crab ensure their survival.

Our much smaller, but equally exciting, Red Octopus is warming up to her new home as well and is now often seen exploring and hunting. She has also begun investigating the field of interior decorating and can be seen shifting rocks and seaweed to make the perfect den.
The newest tank is specimen-free with the objective being of environmental significance. Our garbage tank features mostly plastic but also glass, shoes, metal, string, and other rubbish found on our beaches. All displayed trash is from the beaches either in the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve or right outside the aquarium. While broadening the understanding of the permanency of plastic waste we also acknowledge its value in maintaining our current lifestyles. Messages such as “Since 1976 plastic has been the most used material in the world” and “Plastic ropes, nets, and packaging can entangle and harm marine life” line the tank to reinforce the significance of this always growing problem.

The aquarium is open daily from 10 am until 6 pm and is located at the bottom of Main Street beside the Whiskey Docks- see you there!

-Mary Vasey, Interpreter

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