Turkey’s first marine biology museum showcasing endangered species specific to the Mediterranean opens in the southern city of Antalya, one of Turkey’s most popular tourism hotspots.
The museum aims to create social awareness about marine protection by publicly exhibiting rare creatures and endangered species from the Mediterranean Sea. Aquaculture Engineer Elif Ozgür Özbek, designer of Antalya Marine Biology Museum, stated that this museum will be the first one in Turkey that will publicly exhibit rare creatures and endangered species which are normally the preserve of university studies and are closed for public inspection.
Özbek explained that they wish to open “Turkey’s marine richness” to the public and said that the samples in the museum were handled with scientific researchers around the Gulf of Antalya and with the help of Mediterranean fishermen.
Mayor of Antalya, Mustafa Akaydin said “with the museum, the people will have the chance to examine marine life and endangered species closely.”
Over 500 species exhibited
Approximately 500 species of marine animals including three of the 15 endangered species in Mediterranean will be exhibited in the Marine Biology Museum. Endangered species such as Angel Shark (Squatina cicuvelatata), guitarfish (Rhinobathos Cemiculus) and Angular Rough Shark (Exynatus Centrina) along with sea turtles (caretta caretta), nine species of sharks, 10 species of flat sharks, approximately 150 species of bony fishes, sponges, corals, shrimps, lobsters and crabs, shellfishes, octopus, squids and cuttlefishes, starfishes and sea urchins are on exhibit.
“Educational programs and seminars will be held about the protected marine species and the endemic and exotic Red Sea-origin species,” said Özbek.
The oldest species in the museum is a pig shark, which was caught in 1998 in the Marmara Sea, said Özbek. “It has been the same without being spoiled for 16 years.”
Özbek also said that the Mediterranean seal, which was found last year in Alanya and named Duman, was buried last year in May but its skeleton would be removed this year and displayed at the museum.
In 2012, Antalya, Turkey’s biggest international sea resort, became the third most visited city in the world in terms of the number of international arrivals, ranking behind Paris and London respectively. Antalya, which previously ranked fourth in the world in 2010 for visitors, is expected to attract both domestic and foreign tourists to the new museum.