Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Vironia Aquarium (Vironia Village, Lake Kerkini, Northern Greece).

Mid May 2013

Some of you may know that I am interested in Aquariums! Actually, I am interested in all sorts of facilities that promote environmental awareness and engage people in natural history. I even participated in the exhibit at of the Kerkini Visitor's Center back in 2000 (along with nearly a dozen other exhibits in this country....) This is a very short review on a rather peculiar facility, a municipal freshwater aquarium within Lake Kerkini National Park. 

Firstly if you want to read a fairly placed review about the aquarium about 8 years ago see:

Secondly, time has passed and the Vironia Aquarium is now poor repair. This is a bad time to criticize or review the state of this municipal facility (economic crisis etc). And after all,  this aquarium does have the distinction of being the first (and now the third....) exhibiting inland water organisms in Greece! It is the only aquarium in Eastern Macedonia and Thrace. It's sad that it could not be better kept. Being within the National Park, this aquarium could attract thousands each year (it currently attracts about 70 school classes per year - I was told). 

On a personal note, I would like to say a few things:

- This kind of exhibit, even low-key and totally "home-made" can be really fantastic for getting to know Greece's freshwater fish. FISH NEED better publicity - they are beautiful in aquaria. Look at my photos of the fantastic specimens of Petroleuciscus borysthenicus (top and below); the wonderful Grass Carp (below), the tiny Gobio Bulgaricus, and local newts....SO WE NEED MORE AND WELL-KEPT AQUARIA IN GREECE.

- However the situation is really not "satisfactory" when the other wildlfe enters the stage (venomous snakes in tiny terraria, a Nile Croc, and colourful parakeets are on display...). I am not against exhibiting these animals, even within a municipal "aquarium", however this facility desperately needs a new design, and some "development". Development in the sense of an "interpretation plan, and a low-budget up-keep plan that will be enforced". This facility must act to promote conservation education and awareness....

I think the passionate man from the Municipality who keeps these animals is good inside; he is fascinated by them and enthusiastic (see last photo in a conversation with me). However, he must seek some help and try to "save the aquarium" before criticism and moody people turn against this venture. My opinion: An aquarium in KERKINI NATIONAL PARK IS A GREAT IDEA. SAVE KERKINI AQUARIUM! 

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