Question: Having been successful in helping set up a Fish Ark in Mexico for conservation work on their native endemic species, we would like to see if a similar effort can be made in Cuba. Can you please put me in touch with someone studying this in Cuba?
Answer: The Fish Ark that you and your colleagues, and especially its founder Ivan Dibble, have set up in Mexico to help save rare fish from extinction is truly an inspiration and a model of what can be done in other countries to help conserve threatened and often largely unknown endemic fish species. And it is particularly interesting that you would like to see if a similar effort can be made in Cuba.
Cuba is recognized internationally as a country that combines an articulate and multifaceted environmental policy with a wide range of actions dedicated towards environmental sustainability and popular participation. The leading state agency – the Ministry of Science, Technology and the Environment (Ministerio de Ciencia, Tecnología y Medio Ambiente, or CITMA) – has a number of bodies under its mandate and which all deal with management, research, science and education directed towards the sustainable development of the country. CITMA’s website, which exists only in Spanish, is www.medioambiente.cu
One of CITMA’s agencies that might be a good starting point for the Fish Ark to explore possible collaboration in Cuba is the Acuario Nacional de Cuba (National Aquarium of Cuba), whose website, in both Spanish and English, can be found at www.acuarionacional.cu
Founded in January 1960 as Cuba’s first aquarium, the Acuario Nacional is a scientific research centre specialized in environmental education and popularizing the flora, fauna and ecology of the marine environment. Its main objective is to increase both culture and education about the care, conservation and rational use of the sea, its resources, and coasts. Educational programs have a strong focus on children and young people, with the aim of raising consciousness about environmental problems and their solutions.
The Acuario Nacional is well placed as a first point of contact for the Fish Ark initiative, not only because of their own work, but because they would be able to make suggestions as to other possible points of contact. Here is there address and contact information:
Acuario Nacional de Cuba
Avenida 3ra, Esquina 62
Miramar – Municipio Playa
Ciudad de La Habana, Cuba
Teléfono (537) 202-5872 (Information Bureau)