The Florida Aquarium Announces Historic Partnership with the National Aquarium of Cuba

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The Florida Aquarium has signed a historic Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) agreement with the National Aquarium of Cuba with a focus on coral conservation.

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We are delighted that we have now signed a memorandum of understanding to collaborate together on research science, environmental conservation, and education.

The Florida Aquarium has signed a historic Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) agreement with the National Aquarium of Cuba with a focus on coral conservation. Coral reefs are among the most biologically diverse marine ecosystems on earth and are crucial in maintaining the health of our oceans. Many coral species are unfortunately, extremely threatened.

This partnership is the first official agreement between the National Aquarium of Cuba and any Aquarium in the United States and will allow researches from both organizations to share Coral Reef restoration research.

“Although Cuba’s reefs are only 90 miles away from Key West, they are in much better condition than our local reefs systems” said Thom Stork, president and CEO of The Florida Aquarium. “Coral reefs are like underwater rainforests, they support large amounts of animal life and if we lose them it will have a tremendous rippling effect on the entire ocean’s ecosystem. This partnership will provide both aquariums with wonderful opportunities to advance both institutions work on understanding, protecting and restoring our shared marine environment.”

For 10 years The Florida Aquarium’s Center for Conservation team working with the Coral Restoration Foundation have been developing aquaculture techniques that will allow biologists to produce coral on shore to be reared and then restored as adult colonies to bolster wild populations. The University of Florida has assigned two PhDs and their graduate students to work with The Florida Aquarium on this important project. The collaboration with the National Aquarium of Cuba will help advance this important research.

Thomas Hall the Chairman of The Florida Aquarium Foundation explains, “In early October we traveled to Havana with the hopes of developing a working relationship with the National Aquarium of Cuba. Between us we share a lot of water, sea life, and valuable coral reefs. We are delighted that we have now signed a memorandum of understanding to collaborate together on research science, environmental conservation, and education. The very talented team at the National Aquarium of Cuba has, among many other things, developed a formidable bank of coral reef research which complements the coral work we do. There is much we can learn from them, and there is much good we can do together. We are very proud to be their partners and look forward to the results from our work as teammates to improve the health of our oceans.”

The Florida Aquarium’s next step is to attend the Tri-National Initiative for Marine Science and Conservation Workshops this November in Havana which will bring researchers from the United States, Mexico and Cuba together to talk about marine issues. The Aquarium will also participate in the International Marine and Coastal Science Conference featuring scientists from all over the world.

About The Florida Aquarium
The Florida Aquarium is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit institution whose mission is to entertain, educate and inspire stewardship about our natural environment. The Aquarium’s Center for Conservation combines scientific research and animal rescue, rehabilitation and release programs that give needed support to animals in distress or imminent danger, and ecosystems that are faced with both natural and man-made threats.
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701 Channelside Drive
Tampa, FL 33602
http://www.flaquarium.org
Media Contact: Katherine Claytor (813) 486-1645

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