NAUSICAA, the French National Sea Centre

On Saturday 19th May 2018, a massive expansion of NAUSICAA, the French National
Sea Centre in Boulogne-sur-Mer (France), will open to the public for the first time. This new building will contain one of the World’s largest aquariums. An amazing destination for lovers of the sea, where you can experience the vastness and fragility of the Ocean.
With this increase in size, NAUSICAA, which is a major tourist attraction in the Hauts-de-France region, is beginning a new chapter in its history. Visitors will find an extraordinary tank with a capacity of 10,000 m3 offering a voyage on the high seas. Nearly 60,000 creatures will be on display in the 10,000 m² of exhibition space. A further 22,000 creatures will be added to the iconic species that are already there.
This large-scale project is being implemented by the Communauté d’Agglomération of the Boulonnais.

Situated between the port and the beach, and incorporating the existing structure, this large-scale architectural project designed by Jacques Rougerie will take the shape of a manta ray.

NAUSICAA is much more than just an aquarium… It is a Centre where the unique marine environment can be discovered in a fun, educational and scientific way, with a primary focus on the relationship between Mankind and the Sea.
In 25 years, NAUSICAA has welcomed over 15 million visitors and become a major player in efforts to raise awareness of the marine environment. Above all, the Centre’s role is to rally members of the public behind efforts to improve the way in which the oceans and their resources are managed in order to encourage them all to take action. NAUSICAA is a UNESCO “Centre of Excellence” because of its awareness-raising activities.

The expansion of NAUSICAA is based around a BIG TANK which will recreate the ecosystem of the high seas. Management of the high seas is one of the major issues of the 21st century, and the United Nations is discussing methods of governance. Visitors will see vastness here: a powerful and living Ocean. The area resembles the island of Malpelo off the coast of Colombia.
This extraordinarily-sized structure is a real architectural, aquatic and technical challenge which has been realised at NAUSICAA for the first time in Europe! Sharks, manta rays and shoals of other fish will inhabit this area! An 18 metre-long transparent tunnel offering multiple views, a trench measuring 7.5 metres, giant windows and a viewing panel measuring 20 metres long and 5 metres high will give spectacular views of the big tank.

Visits will also feature interactive and surprising attractions and dazzling new sights.

Voyage on the High Seas
The 21st century and future centuries are a time when it will be necessary to manage resources in the High Sea, which covers half of the Planet’s area. If the resources in the Sea become an alternative to those on the Land, we need to ensure that they are used in a sustainable way while also seeking to eliminate the sources of conflict that this may cause by making it fair.

The high sea seems like a vast desert, but is crossed by highly migratory species and inhabited by creatures which travel enormous distances to feed or reproduce. Small fish which provide very large quantities of food for larger marine creatures are clustered at depths of between 200 metres and 1,000 metres. The high sea, which covers more than half of our planet’s surface, offers huge scope for exploration and science! It also hugely expands the possibilities for the human race.

Shores and People
The current exhibition covering an area of 5,000 m2 is turning into “Shores and People”, where visitors can explore issues surrounding the management of coastal regions. Thanks to the discovery of these ecosystems and the people who live off them, everyone understands how Man is involved in the functioning of the oceans, and how best he can benefit from its resources.
A visit to the “Shores and People” exhibition experience begins with “Travels in Northern Seas”, “Stopovers in the Mediterranean” and then on to the kelp forest. Further on are, the lagoon, the coral reef and the open sea tank: the emotional shock felt on seeing the sharks gives way to visual shock on seeing the lagoon and its multi-coloured fish… It’s a total change of scene! Finally, in a recreation of a Californian reserve, six sea lions zip around like torpedoes in their tank holding 1 million litres of water. There, through the activities of our sea lions, visitors learn about the need to create reserves to protect certain species which are threatened by Mankind. When the sea lions arrived in 1998, NAUSICAA was the only centre in Europe which offered the public educational activities with sea lions which focused in particular on the wellbeing of the animal and its physical and mental development. Today, the French National Sea Centre continues to be a European leader in the field of sea lion training.

The forums are activity and interactivity areas at NAUSICAA: the Blue Society forum, the “Shores and People” area forum and finally the High Seas forum offer a new visit experience which turns visitors into ocean actors.
A visit to NAUSICAA is an interactive experience where visitors choose information according to what interests them. They play around with the scenarios in the different themes, vote by taking part in surveys and thus become active citizens of the ocean, and go to events which tell them about life in the high seas.
NAUSICAA takes a “before, during and after” overall approach. By creating an account in order to become a member of the NAUSICAA community, visitors prepare for, personalise and enhance their visit to turn it into a remarkable event which is followed by discussions within the community, targeted information which they receive and encouragement to act to preserve the world ocean.

The Blue Society
The educational side of NAUSICAA’s work will be strengthened by the Blue Society issues that will be presented in the Entrance Hall. Blue Society seeks to cater for society’s current and future needs in a spirit of “positive” growth by tapping into the huge potential that the world’s oceans offer us. It is based on responsible use of marine resources, and also the development of innovative technologies and new products which will generate economic resources and jobs.