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India's Oldest Aquarium Reopens to Disappoint

India's Oldest Aquarium Reopens to Disappoint

Mumbai’s Taraporewala Aquarium is India’s oldest. It opened in March after two years of renovation and redesign. But experts and regular visitors say it’s a big damp squib.   


When the Fisheries Department of the Maharashtra government closed the Taraporewala aquarium in 2013 for a complete overhaul, you couldn’t be faulted for expecting Mumbai and India to get a world class aquarium. But two years on, the aquarium that opened in March 2015 is far from any international standards.


Although Rs. 22 crores have been spent on it, everything smacks of a lack of vision and any real concern for either the marine exhibits or the human visitors. Reports of over a hundred fish dying in less than a month after reopening are rife. Officials working on the fish tank displays were tight-lipped about the poor maintenance and kept us away from the Quarantine Room where the different species are treated for acclimatisation. An official, who did not wish to be named, said “It’s unfortunate that several fish died in the past weeks but, sea horses are back on display. The main problem is to take care of the marine section as the water is sourced from the Arabian Sea and the pollution level is quite high, which is resulting in the death of these marine creatures.”


Ecologists reiterate that the main reason behind the casualties of many varieties of fish is the use of ‘filtered’ water directly sourced from the Arabian Sea, water that is both highly saline and polluted. Bibhas Amonkar, an environmentalist, says “This is a classic example of wasting public money and also lacks basic research in terms of classification of the different species of marine life. The way the sea turtles have been put into such small fiberglass water tanks is a pity.”


Fisheries Commissioner M. B. Gaikwad and Joint Commissioner Rajendra Jadhav were unavailable for interviews despite repeated requests.


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1 Comment

  1. Rudolph.A.Furtado

    June 18 at 6:20 am

    Having visited some of the best zoological parks and aquariums in the World feel sad that my home-city of Mumbai(Bombay) has a pathetic zoo as well as a aquarium.I spent my young years exploring “Veermata Jeejabai Bhosle Udyan(Victoria Gardens)” and feel sad that it has degraded in animal species since the 1970’s! Regarding the “Taraporewala aquarium” ,had last visited it in the 1990’s before its redevelopment and felt sorry at the poor maintenance and display of fish. It seemed some of the private pet fish shops in Crawford market had a more aesthetic sense of fish care and display. Recently in March 2015 had visited a private aquarium in Kanyakumari ,displaying fish to tourists for a fee and was surprised at the professionalism of this private exhibitor.Travel educates and if a private fish exhibitor in Kanyakumari is successfully displaying exotic fish species then whats the reason for a State government funded aquarium receiving bad reviews ?All prominent World capital city’s also have excellent zoological parks or aquariums and its time out city fathers pay heed to the up-gradation of our zoological parks.Thankfully the “”Sanjay Gandhi National Park”, the only wildlife park within a city akin to the Nairobi national park in Kenya is still in existence in Mumbai.

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