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The Failed Aquarium

The Centro de Interpretación del Parque Nacional Maritimoterrestre de Cabrera in Colònia de Sant Jordi was opened to the public only two years ago, in 2008. The centre had been built under the aegis of the Spanish government and its Ministerio de Medio Ambiente but is now under the auspices of the Govern Balear. In my view, the centre has never really served its purpose and has sadly never lived up to its idealistic purpose of showcasing the wealth of marine life in the waters of the archipelago of Cabrera. Earlier this year it was decided, that La Crisis and its repercussions would affect the centre in its original shape and form.

During a visit yesterday, I was confronted with the changes already in place: printed information material is now only available in Castellano, when in the past there were printed versions available also in Catalan, English, German and French. Personnel has been greatly reduced and there is now hardly any staff on hand to answer any questions. The 3-D show is now defunct, as is the costly multi-media show on the first floor. All that is left now is a friendly front desk and an assortment of 15 small aquarium tanks with no information or explanations offered whatsoever. The tienda (bookshop) remains closed and the cafeteria is now locked up as well; at least that was the case when I visited yesterday. Opening hours have been reduced (10h00-14h30 and 15h30-18h00) and are expected to be further curtailed after the summer. Entrance admission is still free but a small symbolical admission fee may be charged any time soon.

There were more people visiting yesterday than at any of my previous visits. I believe that the centre has a public service to fulfill and an educational purpose to serve. However, I suppose that a new approach would be needed and a rethink might actually help. There could be a solution for this failed aquarium, another one of Jaume Matas’s white elephants, if only we had politicians available on a municipal, regional or national level that were imaginative and enthusiastic, with a bit of passion and a sense of reality.

The photo was taken in Colònia de Sant Jordi, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: August 14th, 2010. The time was 16:25:21.

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