2008 IAC

2008 IAC – Shanghai, China – Declaration

Life originated in the oceans and the process of evolution has brought us to where we are now.

The theme of the 2008 IAC was: “Progress and conservation: The role of aquariums in protecting the aquatic environment.”

Let’s extend both our hands to protect it.

Some progress has been witnessed in protecting our aquatic environments, especially through efforts by aquariums in both developed and developing countries.

We still have a long way to go, and conservation and protection of our aquatic environments is an urgent priority! We must nevertheless ensure that all environmental, economic and cultural aspects are taken into account to ensure that our actions are sustainable.

This is a serious and very difficult task. Aquariums are undeniably the best instrument to inform the public at large about the status of aquatic environments, their fragility and the positive actions we might take to mitigate the risks they face:

  • We carry an obligation on our shoulders to protect the world heritage that is vested in our aquatic environments, the most precious and largest single component of our planet.

  • Improper management of these resources puts humanity and our planetary stability at risk.

It is therefore incumbent on us to act responsibly and to speak with one voice.

Aquariums hold the keys to communicate best practices to decision-makers, stakeholders and the public at large!

In our 2004 conference the seeds were sown for the creation of a common worldwide aquarium platform to be born from the success of the IAC and to be known as the International Aquarium Forum (IAF).

This 2008 IAC marks the formal commitment of the aquarium community to this professional communication forum which, from today, with the full endorsement of this Congress, will be our common voice.

It is not too late to make a difference, but we have to act today, not tomorrow!

Therefore aquariums under the auspices of the IAF should unite to:

  • Use all possible resources to ensure that the public is fully and accurately informed.

  • Use the positive emotional impact of an aquarium visit to stimulate communication of easily understandable messages to reach all ages.

  • Achieve more sustainable practices to reduce our environmental footprint.

  • Work hand in hand with scientists and research institutes to communicate results of research to our public.

  • Solicit collaboration of the public in ocean and aquatic environmental advocacy.

  • Act together to raise awareness of the status of our aquatic environments to influence policies and actions on local and global scale.

  • Be more proactive in promotion of and participation in worldwide common actions such as World Ocean Day on 8 June each year.

  • Be present and influential in international global environmental forums, such as the Global Forum on Oceans, Coasts and Islands.

  • Actively promote the IAF as an acknowledged and respected professional reference for aquatic environmental issues.

  • Combine their efforts worldwide in conservation of the aquatic environment. 

2008 IAC supporting associations

  • African Association of Zoos and Aquaria (PAAZAB)

  • American Association of Zoo Keepers (AAZK)

  • American Association of Zoo Veterinarians (AAZV)

  • Aquaculture without Frontiers (AwF)

  • Asociacion de Zoologicos, Criaderos y Acuario de Mexico AC (AZCARM)

  • Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA)

  • Association Nationale des Parcs Zoologiques de France (ANPZ)

  • Australasian Regional Association of Zoological Park Aquaria (ARAZPA)

  • Australasian Society of Zoo Keeping (ASZK)

  • British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA)

  • Canadian Association of Zoos and Aquariums (CAZA)

  • Deutscher-Wildgehege-Verband e.V. (DWV)

  • European Union of Aquarium Curators (EUAC)

  • International Aquarium Forum (IAF)

  • International Zoo Educators Association (IZEA) 

Statistics from the 2008 IAC

  • In 2008, representatives from 45 countries and regions attended the IAC, an increase of 12.5% compared with the previous Congress and a new IAC record.

  • Nearly 300 aquariums and scientific institutions, and more than 700 representatives attended IAC 2008, setting a record for the number of institutions and highest attendance.

  • Papers, posters and DVDs selected for the Congress came from 27 countries, an increase of 13%. A total 190 papers were received during the call for papers process and 88 papers of these were presented at the Congress, setting a record for the most papers submitted and presented in the history of the IAC.   

9 to 14 September 2012
Cape Town International Convention Centre
Cape Town, South Africa


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Did You Know

South Africa has the oldest meteor scar in the world, just across the Vaal River near Parys, called the Vredefort Dome.