A marine conservation group has teamed up with a Lapu-lapu City-based oceanarium to raise awareness among private and public school students.

Ocean Care Inc., a nongovernment organization composed of Lapu-lapu City resort owners, dive shops and marine conservation advocates, had signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA)with the Mactan Island Aquarium and Museum.

The Mactan Island Aquarium (MIA), established in 2008 by British marine biologist Dylan Taylor, is the first and only oceanarium in Cebu.

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Taylor got the idea to establish the MIA, having worked in oceanariums on other countries such as Dubai, Saudi Arabia and England.

The MIA showcases about 200 species of marine animals, including sharks, seahorses and crustaceans.

Ocean Care head Antonio Aboitiz told Sun.Star Cebu after the MOA signing in December that the goal of the partnership with MIA is to promote environmental awareness among school children.

Aboitiz noted that MIA is often visited by private school students but not by those attending public schools.

The agreement, he said, will encourage public school students to visit the oceanarium.

“Some of these kids, especially those living in Lapu-Lapu City, are fishermen and the aquarium could provide lessons on marine conservation and (promote the advocacy against) illegal fishing activities, such as dynamite fishing,” he said.

He added that the agreement can also promote the MIA among corporate organizations and their employees.

Taylor showed Sun.Star Cebu how he teaches kids about the effects of dynamite and cyanide fishing.

“We even give them a quiz before the end of the tour, to see if they’ve learn something from the experience,” said Taylor.

Taylor said that for locals, a tour at MIA costs P100 for adults and P75 for kids. Tourists are charged P250 for adults and P200 for kids.