Research and collaborations


“World aquariums against marine litter”




The slogan that is now our motto, “Knowing in order to love, loving in order to protect” is the fruit of L’Aquàrium’s original dream and the driving force behind its activities. The centre’s most important tasks are education and informing people about life at the bottom of the sea. Since its foundation, it has been committed to the study, conservation and protection of marine life.


L’Aquàrium de Barcelona is well known for its collaboration with national and international organisations and its participation in local protection programmes, such as ‘Project Cuttlefish’ in Catalonia. It was an ambassador for the 2016 International Jellyfish Congress, organised by the Superior Council for Scientific Research (CSIC), which was attended by world-renowned marine-biology researchers and professionals.


This year, L’Aquàrium de Barcelona has answered the European Commission’s call for all aquariums to work together on an international campaign that will raise awareness about marine litter. “Acuarios del mundo contra la basura marina” (World aquariums against marine litter)


How can I contribute?


Pollution of the seas is one of the main themes of the “Our Ocean” conference. Millions of tonnes of rubbish end up in the ocean every year, and it is estimated that by 2050, our seas could contain more plastic than fish. L’Aquàrium, along with almost 100 other aquariums on 5 continents, aims to raise awareness about this growing problem and to involve hundreds of people presenting practical solutions.


The campaign was officially launched by Karmenu Vella, the European Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fishing, on Thursday 27 July, at the Oceanographic Museum in Monaco, in the presence of HRH Prince Albert II.


Commissioner Vella said: “Aquariums act as a television screen for the ocean. This marine-litter campaign is urgently needed and gratefully received. The world’s aquariums have decided to become the breaking-news service for our oceans, so that they never have to become their history channel”. This summer, millions of people all over the world will visit an aquarium. In order to bring about change, we must show them the true scale of plastic pollution. 10 million tonnes of rubbish end up in our oceans every year. The campaign is designed to raise awareness about the forthcoming Our Ocean conference (Malta, 5-6 October). This high-level, international event is organised by the European Union. For the first time, it will be bringing together leading authorities on our oceans, from governments, civil-society and business.



Video of European Commissioner Karmenu Vella on the launch of the international ““World Aquariums against marine litter”” campaign.



My Ocean is Our Ocean (My Ocean is #OurOcean)

“Oceans cover three quarters of our planet.

They give us the oxygen we breathe, they regulate the climate, they feed us, they provide clean energy, they give us new medicines. For millions of people, oceans represent a means of sustenance. For many millions more, oceans represent their lives.

Oceans do not belong to anyone, but we all share them. However, our oceans are now under threat. Urgent action is needed. This October, major players from all over the world will be meeting in Malta. They know that protecting the seas means protecting our future. Now it is the European Union’s turn to hold the “Our Ocean” conference. Together we will make a commitment to undertake new initiatives. To protect marine life. To eradicate marine litter. To use our oceans in a sustainable way. Now, more than ever, my ocean is our ocean”.



In this sense, L’Aquàrium de Barcelona is committed to the creation of an exhibition area that encourages people to think, with specific information on waste products in the sea. How long does it take for a plastic bottle to degrade? And plastic ring-holders for soft-drink cans? What tops the list for marine litter found on beaches during clean-up campaigns over the last 25 years? On the Planeta Aqua mezzanine floor, you can see some facts that will make you think again.



L’Aquàrium’s mezzanine floor. Planeta Aqua


Every year, millions of tonnes of rubbish end up in the sea, and it has been calculated that by 2050, there will be more rubbish than fish. If we wish to continue enjoying our seas and oceans, we have to look after them. Recycle!


Some more facts about the problem of plastic in the sea: Plastic bottles in the sea, the greatest threat to our oceans