Future of aquarium remains in doubt after storm damage forces closure

Huge sea swells ripped apart steel fencing surrounding the Fife aquarium's seal enclosure at the end of October.

The future of a Fife aquarium remains in doubt after it was forced to close due to storm damage.

Huge sea swells ripped apart the steel fencing around the seal enclosure at St Andrews Aquarium at the end of October.

Four of the 100kg animals had to be rescued from the pools in the early hours of Monday, October 31 and safely relocated.

There was no other dedicated enclosure, so the meerkats had some different neighbours for a few nights.

Staff member Paige Clark told STV News: “It was really difficult. It was pitch dark, it was wet and it was slippy.

“We had to unblock the pools to start with and physically getting them out and finding a location safe for them to go to, it was a challenge but the team managed to do it in time.

“Thankfully all the animals were safe, that was the main concern and it was just a temporary solution until we managed to make permanent plans for them.

“Our boys have gone to Scarborough Sea Life Centre and our female is going to Combe Wildlife Park down in Devon.”

Part of the popular viewing deck was washed away and essential sea water pumps are still out of use.

The family-run business has now closed to the public for the foreseeable future.

Discussing the significant cost of repairing the damage, owner John Mace said: “The full extent of the damage is not yet known, as some areas are only now becoming safe to assess.

“What is evident is that the impact is substantial including damages to our specialist water pumps, as well as structural damage to the pool and viewing areas.

“With such devastating damage to the seal enclosure, our family of seals will need to be temporarily rehomed, and our team are busy trying to make arrangements now.”

He continued: “We’re going into the winter months now where things become very tight because the tourism industry in Scotland drops quite significantly, so that extra cost and extra electrical costs and things, it escalates and is very damaging. So we want to try and get our doors open as quickly as possible.

“We’re hoping in the next sort of few weeks we can get back up and open once we have got everything looked at and checked structurally with the building and the surrounding areas.”

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