The ‘touchy-feely’ aquarium

SEA LIFE: The Maryport aquarium

SEA LIFE: The Maryport aquarium Buy this photo

First published in What's On Burnley and Pendle Citizen: Photograph of the Author by

THERE has been a lot in the national news recently about the need to conserve the wildlife around the coast of Britain.

It is bound to be a case of out of sight, out of mind because what we don’t actually see, we don’t understand. This is why all naturalists should visit aquaria such as the Sealife Centre at Blackpool.

In this week’s notes however, I have been travelling far afield in search of life at sea. Last week my first visit took me to the splendid aquarium at Maryport on the coast of Cumbria. I love these aquaria when there is a hands-on approach. In more than 50 tanks are each and every species which can be found on the coastline of north western England. There are pools where fish and starfish can be gently touched. I loved the rays which are a member of the shark family and their skin feels really rough, rather like sandpaper.

This is because of the thousands of little placoid scales, and it was from these that the teeth of mammals developed after many millions of years of evolution.

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