CIty Council wants to investigate aquarium laws


by TINA SHIVELY / KVUE News and Photojournalist KENNETH NULL

Bio | Email | Follow: @TinaS_KVUE

Posted on October 17, 2013 at 12:12 PM

Updated Thursday, Oct 17 at 12:12 PM

AUSTIN -- The Austin City Council is taking a deeper look at the plans to build a controversial aquarium. They want to determine what's necessary to make sure the facility runs smoothly after some recent controversy.

The aquarium owners assure the City they will run a proper facility that's educational, entertaining and humane. But the City still plans to do some investigating of its own.

If the item is approved, the city council will direct City Manager Mark Ott to report to them on the regulations and safeguards for marine animals maintained in an aquarium.

This all comes on the heels of controversy surrounding the proposed Austin Aquarium. The Humane Society in Portland, Oregon investigated the owners after 200 animals died at their location.

Councilmember Mike Martinez says the City's animal advocacy groups and animal advisory commissions are already looking into this issue.

"We're just joining in that concern. We're not prepared at this point to say, 'you can't open one,' or 'we don't want this here in Austin,' but we are saying what we've heard so far has raised some concerns for us. We wanna make sure we can address those concerns before this aquarium begins operating," Martinez said.

In September owners gave the public a sneak peek of what the aquarium has to offer. The 22,000-square-foot aquarium will be home to more than 3,000 creatures from sharks to starfish.

The Covino family, the owners of the Austin Aquarium, say the attraction  already has marine biologists and zoologists on staff. They also say recent controversy won't keep the facility from opening its doors sometime this winter.

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