SEOUL, June 1 (Korea Bizwire) — Under new legislation, all commercial aquariums in South Korea will now be subject to government instructions on the minimum size and environment of a standard aquarium tanks.
The Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries reportedly came up with a five-year plan for aquariums that have long operated in legal blind spot of animal welfare, sanitation and safety management for all visitors.
For starters, the government will ensure animal welfare by creating a standard for nutrition and habitat closely tailored to meet the needs of various marine organisms.
Previously, there were no clear-cut standards on feeding procedures or disease control at aquariums as well as definitions of what constitutes a desirable habitat for marine animals, leading many of them to resort to abnormal behavior for being locked up in small spaces or not being fed properly.
The ministry will develop standard instructions to ensure that marine animals locked up in confined spaces are exposed to a minimum amount of stress by creating a habitat that best resembles natural wildlife.
Officials will also come up with specific standards on what amounts to abuse when training marine animals like dolphins.
While current legislation offers a definition of ‘abuse’ when training animals, this definition comes with a broader scope that includes land animals, causing the need to create a separate standard tailored for the management of the affairs of marine life.
The government also plans to introduce water quality standards for aquariums, including water temperature, salinity, and hydrogen ion concentration (pH) to ensure that marine animals live in an environment that best resembles the ocean, as well as technologies for early diagnosis of illnesses, disease control and treatment to prevent any spread of an epidemic.
The ministry will set up procedures for bringing in or letting go of marine animals at aquariums, and rules on possessing and managing each animal species.
Once specific guidelines are established through discussions with related agencies, the ministry will begin carrying out the plans, aiming for completion by 2024.
“Aquariums have often been held at the mercy of the owner’s discretion, which often caused problems of poor management of marine animals among them,” said a government official.
“In response, we are going to set up guidelines that aquariums larger than a certain size will be required to follow.”
Lina Jang (firstname.lastname@example.org)