Coastal aquarium becomes part of Primorska university

Piran – The aquarium in the coastal town Piran is now run by the University of Primorska, as a contract on the transfer was signed on Monday. The Piran Aquarium could no longer be maintained by its former operator due to high costs, so the Education Ministry gratuitously transferred it to the university.

The biggest aquarium in Slovenia will become part of the university’s newly-established Science Centre, which will comprise four units – on top of the aquarium, there will also be the Simon’s Bay Archaeological Park, the House of Science, and the Education Centre.

Despite the additional research activities, the aquarium will continue to be open to the public under the current schedule, the university’s Chancellor Klavdija Kutnar said.

In the coming months, the aquarium will also host the university’s marine research activities.

“We will build on the current successful practices and programmes with the marine biology content that we have been developing at the university for years,” said Kutnar, adding that the aim was to turn the aquarium into a science hub.

“The property itself, together with all the equipment, is worth just over EUR 2 million, and with the signing of the contract the ministry has transferred it to the university free of charge,” Education Minister Simona Kustec said after the signing.

“The decision at government level to transfer the aquarium is a decision to support the University of Primorska Science Centre. It is the first such development-oriented science centre in the country and it has our full support, as will other science centres,” Kustec added.

The ministry included a five-year moratorium in the contract, which stipulates the return of the aquarium under the purview of the ministry if its management is inadequate.

“I’m pleased that with our joint efforts we’ve reached the best solution for the further operation of the Piran Aquarium, which will shine even more beautifully as one of the Primorska region’s most magnificent tourist gems in the framework of the Science Centre,” Piran Mayor Đenio Zadković said on the occasion.

The aquarium, which was previously operated by the Piran Gymnasium, Electro and Maritime School, was founded in 1964 and showcases a collection of some 140 species.