We can now reveal the name and the opening date of the long anticipated large-scale exhibit at the Two Oceans Aquarium. The I&J Ocean Exhibit will be open to the public on Thursday 16 June 2016 at 9:30am.

Today, we introduced the first fish into the I&J Ocean Exhibit. Today’s introduction of yellowfin tuna and striped bonito is the first step in the stocking of the exhibit with various fish species.

The I&J Ocean Exhibit is set to house giant guitarfish, rays, bonito, yellowfin tuna, Yoshi the Aquarium’s resident loggerhead turtle, and much more.

“The opening of this exhibit to the public brings to an end two-and-a-half years of construction and anticipation. As South Africans we are fortunate to live in a country with incredible cultural and biological diversity and our oceans are no exception. Our long coastline, with its varied biogeography, is home to an enviable array of plants and animals, many of which are threatened by overfishing, coastal pollution, and micro plastics, to name a few,” said Two Oceans Aquarium CEO Michael Farquhar.

Two Oceans Aquarium Curator Maryke Musson, Technical Manager Mike de Maine and CEO Michael Farquhar - all smiles after a successful first fish release

“This magnificent exhibit aims to capture the public’s attention and presents us with an opportunity to inspire action for the future well-being of our oceans whether through sustainable seafood choices (such as I&J’s MSC certified Deep Water Hake, a SASSI green-listed species); reducing, reusing and recycling; or making an ocean promise. We all need to understand the pressure that we are exerting on our natural resources and the threats which our oceans face so that we can make informed personal choices for their future well-being and therefore our own,” he continued.

Striped bonito being released into the I&J Ocean Exhibit

The exhibit is named the I&J Ocean Exhibit in recognition of I&J’s long-standing commitment to the Two Oceans Aquarium. As a founder partner, I&J has a long history with the Aquarium. The fishing company was the driver in attaining the stringent sustainability Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification for the industry in 2004, and has played a key partnership role with the Aquarium since its opening in 1995.

Two Oceans Aquarium CEO Michael Farquhar and I&J Managing Director Jonty Jankovich-Besan

“I&J has been proudly associated with the Two Oceans Aquarium since its inception in 1995 and we are thrilled to continue this association into the future. As one of South Africa’s leading fishing companies, we believe that protecting and conserving the marine environment for the future, is important,” said I&J Managing Director Jonty Jankovich-Besan.

Two Oceans Aquarium Communications and Sustainability Manager Helen Lockhart talks logistics with I&J Managing Director Jonty Jankovich-Besan

“We have partnered with the Aquarium because our vision for the ocean is very much in line with that of the Aquarium’s – we are committed to ensuring sustainability of both the ocean and its bounty, for generations to come. We look forward to the opening of the new I&J Ocean Exhibit and being part of the Two Oceans Aquarium’s new era,” he continued.

Yellowfin tuna

The new I&J Ocean Exhibit is the first major construction for the Aquarium in nearly 21 years. The exhibit holds 1.6 million litres of seawater at a temperature of between 20 and 24 degrees Celsius. The depth of the exhibit stands at 6 metres. It is the first exhibit of its kind in South Africa to boast a full 10-metre long tunnel. The exhibit’s main viewing window is a continuous 9 metre-wide panel, which is 4 metres high and weighs 22 tonnes.

Prepare to be mesmerised by the new Jelly Gallery

At the same time as the opening of the new I&J Ocean Exhibit, a new Jelly Gallery will also open. This gallery forms the entrance to the I&J Ocean Exhibit and will house various jelly species in a novel and mesmerising way.

To protect the fish we're running a temporary bubble curtain against the acrylic panel of the I&J Ocean Exhibit

As the Aquarium prepares to open the new exhibit, it is also preparing to close down the old I&J Predator Exhibit for renovations. This exhibit, along with the Ocean Basket Kelp Forest Exhibit, will reopen in 2017. The kelp forest exhibit will reopen as a kelp forest, but the predator exhibit will open as a completely new exhibit, housing large sharks and other species to be confirmed.

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