Declaration of the 4th IAC Tokyo 1996.

We, participants hereby summarize the Congress and declare the following:

       1.We who are involved with aquariums recognize the importance of the “ ocean and the global aquatic environment” which constitutes more than 70 % of the earths surface and which has given birth to and nurtured life. We recognize that the ocean’s rich productivity has continued to provide great blessings to mankind, and that the balance between sustainable use and conservation of the ocean’s environment is critical.  The theme of the 4th International Aquarium Congress Tokyo, ” Sharing the Water Planet “, was created with the recognition that man exists in a relationship of : “to respect, to conserve and encourage sustainable use “ with nature, and with the hope that such sharing could be nurtured into a common perception around the world.

      2.We held a commemorative symposium on the first day of the congress, in which not only delegates but also the general public was involved. Addressing the theme “The Ocean, Fish and Mankind” – What Kind of Future is Visible beyond the Aquarium Exhibits ? -, the symposium attracted more than 800 participants. Following a keynote lecture which discussed the intimate relationship between life and water, a panel of six members, from a variety of fields, including aquarium directors from Japan and abroad, exchanged views regarding the roles envisioned for aquariums in the future. The symposium fits in well with the theme of the 4th IAC , which sought to investigate roles that aquariums would play in the 21st century.

      3.Over the next four days of the Congress, participants presented research and exchanged information on a variety of areas, including husbandry and exhibit Technologies, the educational activities of aquariums, and the environmental Problems and strategies for conservation, and engaged in lively discussions. As a result of these activities, we confirmed the following: 

      a) In aquariums in recent years, it has become possible to exhibit successfully many organisms that have been difficult to keep and breed in the past. Participants confirmed that the reason for this was not only improvements And developments in husbandry techniques buts also in architectural and engeneering progress and application of the results of scientific research.    

       b) Aquariums must convey in an accurate way to the people what is known about the deterioration of the aquatic environment and the decline in species diversity. At the same time, participants confirmed that conservation issues must not be limited to educational efforts carried out for visitors within the walls of the aquarium- but that the time had come to venture outside, and to have and commence action programs designed to preserve declining aquatic wildlife habitats.

      c) From a global perspective, aquariums everywhere are regional facilities. There is a need for aquariums around the world to play the role of conservation centers for the natural environment in their regions.

            Recognizing the value of this new function, we confirmed the importance of acting in concert with other aquariums domestically and abroad to fulfill this role, and of taking bold action to achieve this goal.

      d) As urban-based facilities, or as facilities in resort areas, aquariums will continue to provide familiar and accessible intellectual recreation. With a proper eye to economic and biological costs entailed, they will carry out exhibitions which bring to people an appreciation of the grandeur of living things, the importance of the environment that nourishes those living things, and the fragility of the natural environment.

       4. As facilities in the process of further development, aquariums face a large number of issues requiring investigation. With the opportunity created by the 4th IAC, aquariums around world shall further strengthen their mutual cooperate relationships, promote information and technology exchange, and cooperate to deal with these various problems. It is the consensus of the participants that the IAC should continue to be held regularly on the basis of a common governing philosophy. The secretariat responsible for preparations should not be established in any one location, but should be moved each time to the host institution. The international divisions of zoo or aquarium organizations in the various regions of the world will provide support.

Congresses shall be convened every four years, an interval that is endorsed by many aquariums. As a rule, the congress sites shall be rotated among the regions of Europe, the Americas, Asia and other. It was decided that, for the next congress, the host aquarium would be the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco, and that for the 6th, Monterey Bay Aquarium in the USA would be the host.

        5.The 4th IAC is drawing to a close. It attracted a large number of participants and achieved significant results. On behalf of the participants, we would like to express our sincere appreciation to the organizers of the Congress who were instrumented in allowing us to have a successful gathering. We would like also to express our appreciation to the Hon.Chairman of the New England Aquarium, Mr.John Prescott, who took it upon himself to conduct a survey on the future of the IAC, to the ass.dir. of the Antwerp Zoo, Mr. Paul Van den Sande and to all overseas members of the steering committee who provided various kinds of advice over the period of preparation. We hereby offer our willingness to cooperate in preparations carried out by the next host aquarium, The Oceanographic Institute of Monaco, and promise to meet again in 2000.