Since its creation, The SeaCleaners has partnered with several French aquariums in order to reinforce its educational mission with young audiences. The team at the Lyon Aquarium tells us about this collaboration.

Located at the tip of the Confluence, between the Rhône and Saône rivers, the Lyon aquarium celebrated its 20th anniversary this year. Created on the initiative of Mr. Chicheportiche, founder of the Saint-Malo aquarium, it is now specialized in shark reproduction and aquaculture. We met Murielle Meynard, Sales and Events Manager, and Clémentine Hans, Digital Projects Manager, who talked about the partnership with The SeaCleaners.

What is the role of an aquarium?

(MM) It is threefold:

  • “To know is to protect” is the motto of the Lyon Aquarium: to present ambassadors of marine and freshwater species in order to get to know them better and thus to have the desire to protect them on a larger scale. That this aquatic world, sometimes so far from us, is accessible to all.
  • To raise awareness of the role of the oceans / rivers and their inhabitants in order to protect biodiversity and therefore our environment on a daily basis.
  • To study and reproduce species in order to participate in the conservation of aquatic ecosystems.

Why a partnership with The SeaCleaners?

(MM) The first thing that attracted us to TSC was the Manta project. We were very curious to learn more about this ocean cleanup initiative. This project also echoed one of our school lectures – A Bottle in the Sea.

How does this partnership work?

(MM) Following our meeting with the team of The SeaCleaners, several axes were set up:

  • The daily broadcast of the documentary on the Manta in our cinema
  • The use of The SeaCleaners’ educational material for school children, for weekend events for the general public and sometimes for professional clients at seminars
  • The broadcasting of awareness-raising quizzes for children on a screen of the course
  • A first joint day with the Lyon volunteers to raise awareness about plastic pollution on July 16 (fun activities and conferences, distribution of beach ashtrays with the Aquarium of Lyon & The SeaCleaners logo)
  • A page on our website dedicated to the association

Do you feel that the public (and especially schoolchildren) are more aware of plastic pollution? Have you noticed an evolution of mentalities on the protection of the oceans?

(CH) At the Lyon Aquarium, we offer a workshop called Bottle to the Sea. This workshop was created for the Fête de la science 2019 and is intended for children in cycle 3. This workshop was a great success during the event and it is very much appreciated by school children at the aquarium. They seem more concerned and ready to act than adults. Indeed, children are relatively well aware of plastic pollution. Among other things, this workshop is going to challenge them on very specific things, notably the story of the turtles that unfortunately eat plastic bags in the oceans.

During the workshop, which aims to understand the time of degradation of plastic waste, the children are more and more shocked by the figures concerning the waste in the water for example. They are looking for solutions to mitigate this phenomenon which threatens today the marine life and our health. So we find that there is a real evolution especially on the youngest public.

As a marine specialist, how do you see the future for the oceans?

(CH) The future is still in our hands, but we must act and act quickly. Indeed, the forecasts are alarmist. By 2050, it is estimated that there will be more waste than fish in the oceans. Unfortunately, this pollution has a real impact on marine wildlife, 90% of marine animals have already ingested plastic. We must therefore hope for a quick awareness. The ocean is vital to life on earth, it is essential to protect it and to do everything to avoid destroying it! 

Discover the wonderful world of the Lyon aquarium 🐠