8th International Aquarium Congress gets off to a swimming good start

9 September 2012 | Ingrid Sinclair

The Two Oceans Aquarium was packed to the hilt tonight with more than 400 8th International Aquarium Congress (IAC) delegates and their accompanying persons, friends of the Aquarium, exhibitors, sponsors and volunteers.

It was the official welcome event for the 8th IAC which kicks off tomorrow with an opening ceremony. On Friday 9 September, a pre-IAC event – just for the youth – was also hosted at the Two Oceans Aquarium. Click here to read more about the “Voices for the Future of Our Oceans” video conference.

Even the wonder worm exhibit at the Two Oceans Aquarium received an IAC makeover. The Aquarium has introduced a number of new exhibits and signage to commemorate the IAC’s arrival in Cape Town.

Not only is this the first time that the IAC is being held in Africa, but it’s also the first time this prestigious event is being hosted in the Southern Hemisphere.

I&J Commercial Director William Steenkamp attended the event with his wife, Bronwyn.

IAC Steering Committee member Paul Van den Sande (Executive director: EUAC) has not been in Cape Town since 1967. Arriving in South Africa yesterday, he took advantage of the Cape Peninsula tour. “It was fantastic,” said Van den Sande. “This is a wonderful city.”

Although there was a light drizzle, that didn’t stop Cape Minstrels from giving IAC delegates the warmest welcome, as only Cape Town can do. They performed outside with unfailing energy and enthusiasm.

Seasoned Capetonians may remember old-school Bashew’s soda – the Two Oceans Aquarium handed these local treats out to delegates, along with (ocean-friendly) snoek samoosas, boerewors and biltong, chilli bites and butter chicken, and milktart and donuts.

Delegates had the opportunity to browse exhibits at leisure, and interact with volunteers at the Touch Pool. All the Aquarium doors were open for the evening, meaning that guests could go behind the scenes to see the workings of this facility. A rare treat!

Furthering the IAC commitment to sustainability, the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) had a stand where guests could find out more about sustainable seafood.

I&J Surfing Chef Philip Myburgh prepared sustainably sourced hake for guests. I&J is a founding partner of the Two Oceans Aquarium, the sponsors of the I&J Predator Exhibit, and a key sponsor of the IAC.

The I&J Predator Exhibit was packed (yes, much like sardines) due to the fantastic turn out.

IAC Steering Committee Chairperson and Two Oceans Aquarium Managing Director welcomed delegates and co to the Southern Hemisphere before inviting I&J Commercial Director William Steenkamp to the podium. Steenkamp emphasized the importance placed by I&J on sustainable fishing. Earlier in the evening, Steenkamp said: “I am very proud to be here tonight and for I&J to be associated with the Aquarium and the IAC. It is both a privilege and a proud moment. Given I&J’s commitment to sustainability, it is very fitting for us to be here tonight.”

Join the conversation

Please follow the 8th IAC on Twitter here – whether you’ll be attending or not. We’ll be using the hashtag #8thIAC on Twitter for IAC coverage, so follow that too. You can also “like” our page on Facebook and please do join our group on LinkedIn here for regular IAC updates, pictures and news.  

  • Author: Ingrid Sinclair
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