Universitas Helsingiensis

The quarterly of the University of Helsinki

The Variety of Finland's Fish Species on Show in Kotka
May 16 saw the inauguration of the first internationallevel marine aquarium off Kotka's Sapokka marina.

Kari-Pekka Kuronen

Back to autumn issue 2002

Fish species from different water habitats

Owing to the low saline content of the Kotka coastal area, fish species usually found in lakes and rivers also thrive in Maretarium.

The aquarium contains over half a million litres of water, 10 % of which is changed over a 7-day period. The water is taken from a depth of five metres in the Baltic Sea and filtered through a quartz sand filter. UV filtering helps to remove additional particles and muddiness from water.

The aquarium contains a Lapland fell brook with its grayling, riverine habitat with river lamprey, small lakes from Central Finland with their roach and rudd, Lake Saimaa with her pikeperch and whitefish and the Baltic Sea with her sculpin and flounder.

In all, Maretarium is the home of over 50 fish species - including rare ones - of Finland's water habitats.

Research and education

Maretarium also houses a nature school and facilities for researchers. Two researchers from the Finnish Game and Fisheries Research Institute and four from the University of Helsinki are about to start work in Maretarium.

"Our focus is primarily on sea trout, salmon, Baltic herring, pikeperch, sprat and whitefish. Despite the increasing recruitment, the Baltic salmon catch has dramatically declined. The aim is to establish an extensive, versatile, international and functional research community in Kotka, which would also be able to serve the neighbouring areas more widely. Our aim is to develop the co-operation in the fishery sector between local communities, Estonia and Russia," said Kare Turtiainen, Director General from the Finnish Game and Fisheries Research Institute.

Maretarium's nature school provides lessons for day care centres, comprehensive schools, upper secondary schools and corporate guests. The special themes include the river Kymijoki and the Baltic Sea. The education packages are tailored to cater to the needs of different groups. The theme of the special exhibition in 2002 was the Eastern Gulf of Finland National Park, celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.

The Finnish government approved
the protection programme

In the opening of the Maretarium, Prime Minister Paavo Lipponen informed the audience that the government had just recently approved an extensive Baltic Sea Protection Programme. The World Wide Fund for Nature acknowledged work promoting the protection of the Baltic Sea by giving the government a "Gift to Earth" recognition award.

"Finnish experts have familiarised themselves with the environmental impact of the oil harbour in Primorsky. Furthermore, Russia has confirmed its participation in the Northern Dimension Environmental Partnership, including Finland, Sweden, the European Commission and international financing institutes. The construction of a sewage treatment plant in St. Petersburg is the most urgent project affecting the state of the Baltic Sea presently," continued Lipponen.

Lipponen also mentioned that he was going to meet Prime Minister Kasyanov next month at the Baltic Sea States Summit in St. Petersburg, where environmental projects will receive priority in the discussions.

Open daily

Information on other maritime attractions and fishing permits for the nearby waters are available at the information desk by the entrance. Cafe Ariela provides an opportunity to rest and admire the seascape over the Gulf of Finland.

Maretarium is open daily 10 am - 6 pm.

- unique seaside marine aquarium in Kotka

At the Maretarium, you can discover the way of life hidden beneath the water surface. You can meet over 50 different species of fish native to Finland face to face. For the first time, Finland's unique marine life is within your grasp.

Experience Finland's water habitats:

* a Lapp mountain brook with its grayling
* a river environment with river lamprey
* the small lakes of Central Finland and their roach and rudd
* Lake Saimaa and its pikeperch and whitefish
* Kymijoki River with its trout and salmon
* the Gulf of Finland with its sculpin and flounder

The giant-sized Baltic Sea tank contains over half a million litres of water and shoals of fish. The depth of the cylindrical tank is seven metres: the same as the average depth in Finnish lakes.

Diverse entertainment

Join a guided tour of the aquarium and hear about the latest "fish news" and events taking place at the Maretarium. You can watch shows in the marine theatre. The divers swim with and feed the pike, lumpsuckers, and other fish.

Lectures and research

In addition to the aquarium, Maretarium has research rooms and a nature school. The researchers at Maretarium are from the University of Helsinki and the Finnish Game and Fisheries Research Institute. Additionally, a park attendant and park expert from the National Board of Forestry and a fisheries expert from the TE centre of Southeast Finland work at the Maretarium.

The Maretarium's own Haili Nature School provides lessons for day care homes and schools, as well as for company visitors year-round. The special themes of the Maretarium's nature school include the Baltic Sea and the Kymijoki river. Lesson packages are tailored to the needs and wishes of the group.

Maretarium is a product of collaboration

The Maretarium is a result of many years of co-operation between City of Kotka, the University of Helsinki, and the Finnish Game and Fisheries Research Institute. The special exhibit for 2002 has been produced in co-operation with the National Board of Forestry. The subject of the special exhibit is the 20th anniversary celebration of the Eastern Gulf of Finland National Park.


Daily until June 30, 2003 10 am - 6 pm, except December 24, 10 am -2 pm, December 6, 25, 26, and 31, 10 am - 4 pm, ticket sales end one hour before closing time.

Reserve a guided tour for your group in advance. The guided tour lasts approximately an hour.


Kotka Maretarium Oy, Sapokankatu 2, FIN-48100 Kotka, Finland, Tel: +358 (0)5 234 4030, fax +358 (0)5 234 4040, www.maretarium.fi

Back to autumn issue 2002