MELAKA: More than 100 aquatic species at the historic city’s iconic Oceanarium at a shopping complex may end up at private aquariums after the management plans to auction-off RM1mil worth of collections.
The Shore Oceanarium CEO Datuk Chew Chert Fong said his management can no longer cope with losses of RM4mil since the first movement control order in March 2020.
“We need about RM10,000 a month as fish feed as well as thousands of ringgit for maintenance and staff salaries.
“The losses incurred since last year amounted to RM4mil and the lockdown had worsened our situation,” he said in an interview on Monday (June 21).
Chew said he plans to hold a public auction by the end of this year if the tourist attraction still remains closed.
He said the most expensive aquatic collection is a pair of giant grouper that could fetch a good price if auctioned.
Chew said currently the oceanarium is being kept afloat with whatever cash reserves that are left but he is afraid the funds would run out at some point.
He said the management dealt with the pandemic's financial impact through lay-offs and pay cuts earlier this year.
“However, we still have to maintain those taking care of the fishes and conservation works,” he said.
Chew said the oceanarium that was opened in December 2014 is privately owned and it needs to source for its own funds to continue operations.
“The long closure had also impacted the creatures at our aquarium and acclimatised to having no visitors during the pandemic, hence, we need to ensure physical engagements with the aquatic lives by having workers turning up everyday at the oceanarium,” he said.
Chew said the Oceanarium also works closely with the state Fisheries Department on turtle conservation missions.
The Oceanarium is also recognised by the state government as an education facility for students.