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Commonwealth Games 2002

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Thursday, 21 March, 2002, 09:28 GMT
Descent to the deep seas
The Deep
Hundreds of species of fish swim in the tanks
Visitors will take the world's longest underwater lift ride to come face-to-face with seven species of sharks in Europe's deepest aquarium opening in Hull.

The Deep has billed itself as the world's first "submarium" which tells the story of the birth of the planet through to the influence man has had on the seas.

It features marine life from the equator to the poles, early fossils and the chance to become a submarine pilot in a computer simulation.

Built on the banks of the Humber estuary at a cost of 45.5m, The Deep is the latest landmark millennium project and will be open to the public from Saturday.

Eerie cavern

It will be officially opened by the Duke of York on Friday.

Visitors can journey across the watery planet and through the different ages of the oceans using interactive displays.

David Gemmell
David Gemmell: "More than an aquarium"
It features what is claimed to be the world's only acrylic lift which descends into Europe's deepest aquarium tank. There are also large viewing windows to see into a variety of marine environments.

A polar gallery features two real ice walls, which evoke an eerie ice cavern populated by giant isopods.

The murky depths of the abyssal - the deepest oceans - are shown and exotic fish swim in the coral lagoon.

Species in the aquarium include:

  • Banded bamboo sharks
  • Zebra sharks
  • Chinese trumpetfish
  • Warty frogfish
  • Batfish
  • Bluespotted ribbontail rays
  • Big-bellied seahorse
  • Moon jellyfish
Fossil wall

There are hundreds of other species of fish swimming in the tanks of The Deep.

It is hoped The Deep will develop a greater knowledge of the oceans and their secrets and work towards greater conservation of the seas.

The Deep
Visitors can get close to marine life, including rays

Councillor David Gemmell, chair of The Deep, said: "It's more than just an aquarium - this tells a story of the ocean which is what we wanted to do right from the start.

"It tells the story of time, the story of geography, and the story of the depths."

The submarium comprises four sections.

These are the visitor attraction including the tanks and interactive displays, a business centre, a lifelong centre and research facility.

A 10-metre fossil wall rises above a series of interactive learning modules looking at the evolution of the oceans from the birth of the planet.

There is also a research station on the ocean floor called Deep Blue One, with interactive experiments and computer simulators.

The Deep is also working on conservation projects with organisations including the Shark Trust and the Darwin Foundation.

Marine experts from the aquarium also plan to become involved in fish breeding and local beach cleaning projects.

The Deep was part funded by the Millennium Commission and is part of a wider regeneration scheme in Hull that has seen a range of projects totalling more than 1bn of investment in the area.

The BBC's Catherine Marston
"The Deep is very much more than just a tourist attraction"
The Deep's Chairman Cllr David Gemmell
"It is not just an aquarium"
Marine Biologist Dr David Gibson
"We are researching biology and behaviour"

Click here to go to Humber
See also:

28 Dec 00 | Scotland
Aquarium is out of stormy water
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