Israel is home to varied and unique marine and freshwater ecosystems including the Red Sea, the Mediterranean Sea, the Sea of Galilee, the Dead Sea, the Jordan River and various wetlands habitats - all facing many difficult challenges. In accordance with the Ministry of Environmental Protection's National Biodiversity Plan, the Biblical Zoo in Jerusalem is establishing a state of the art aquarium facility, to inspire, educate and empower visitors to save these magnificent environments.
Israel's aquatic habitats face an uncertain future: pollution and over-fishing in the Mediterranean Sea; loss of coral reefs in the Red Sea due to warming waters and human activity; destruction of freshwater aquatic habitats; and significant shrinking of the unique Dead Sea. Unless human behaviors change, many local aquatic species may go extinct in our lifetime. There is an urgent need for public awareness, conservation programs and research to prevent these losses at a local level.
By educating thousands of people about the value of aquatic ecosystems, local communities will be engaged and empowered to protect habitats. Breeding centers for aquatic organisms will develop a repository for endangered species with reintroduction programs and expertise development. Practical efforts will positively impact aquatic wildlife and ecosystems by implementing locally-based solutions to the global conservation problem delivered by passionate environmentalists both present and future.
High quality learning opportunities will develop new conservation leaders in Israel. Over time, knowledge and awareness of these issues passes to new communities and generations. Teaching people how to act responsibly around coral reefs radically reduces negative impacts and the Aquarium will reach thousands of tourists and local stakeholders. Increased regional knowledge will help reverse the trends of aquatic ecosystem depletion and degradation by advocating a stewardship value system.