The Zoo Basel is planning to build a large aquarium in the city centre of Basel. Costs for building the “Ozeanium” run up to over 100 million Swiss Francs ‒ and this at a time when the world’s oceans are under greater threat than ever. Almost one third of the world’s coral reefs have perished, and another 20 per cent will be gone in 10 to 20 years.
Large aquariums only exacerbate this kind of destruction, because they rely on importing many of the species they house by capturing them from the wild, as they cannot be farmed. Various coral fish species have already died out in their local environments, or are threatened with extinction.
It is unacceptable for marine life to be exhibited like this in Basel: trapped and exhibiting maladjusted behaviours. All the more so, considering that the facility will devour huge amounts of energy in the form of pumps, water treatment, cooling and heating systems.
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Our mission is to prevent the construction of this wholly unnecessary Ozeanium! It goes against Basel’s forward-looking spirit and is entirely unreconcilable with its aim of becoming a 2,000-watt-society. And this is precisely why Fondation Franz Weber (FFW) launched the campaign “NOzeanium”:
“Say No to the Ozeanium at the Rhine!”. Blazing a trail in the fight against the ludicrous 100-million-francs project, FFW is putting every effort into convincing the Grand Council of Basel to oppose construction of the “Ozeanium”. 100 million Swiss Francs could be invested much better elsewhere.
If the Grand Council of Basel should approve this beast of a construction, we intend to take it to a referendum. An antiquated mega-project such as this not only puts biodiversity and the environment at risk, it also sullies the reputation of this city at the river Rhine. So, in short: “Say No to the Ozeanium at the Rhine!”
Despite intensive work on the part of FFW to educate and raise awareness, on 17 October 2018 the Grand Council of Basel-Stadt declared their support for the construction of the Ozeanium. FFW immediately arranged for a referendum against this decision. Together with environmental organisations, marine conservationists, experts, and many other motivated supporters, we were able to collect nearly 5,000 signatures within the canton’s referendum deadline and submit these to the Basel-City State Chancellery on 28 November 2018.
On 15 December 2018 the State Chancellery published the result of the signature verification:
4,649 people had signed for a referendum against the «Ozeanium». It is therefore clear: the «Ozeanium» project will be put to the vote in the canton of Basel-City (further information in the press release of 21 December 2018, in German).