Museu Marítimo de Ílhavo
The Maritime Museum of Ílhavo



Arquivo digital que documenta as campanhas bacalhoeiras desde o início do século XX


Codfish Aquarium

Visiting the Codfish Aquarium at the Ílhavo Maritime Museum is a unique experience.

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The MMI's Aquarium of the Cods, inaugurated in January 2013, consists of an attractive biological heritage exhibition dedicated to the Gadus morhua species, the Atlantic cod, which we can consider the traditional Portuguese cod, the one that the Portuguese have fished and consumed for several centuries. Fully inserted in the exhibition route of the Museum, the Aquarium completes the historical and memorial discourse of the Faina Maior, offering the public an incomparable experience of knowledge and leisure.

Designed by ARX Portugal, in an aesthetic language that suggests dynamics and enchantment, the Aquarium is 3.2 meters deep and has a capacity for 120 cubic meters of water. The salt comes from a laboratory in order to have similar characteristics to those of the codfish natural habitat. The water temperature varies between 10ºC and 12ºC.

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Designed in a downward spiral, the MMI's Codfish Aquarium distinguishes itself from other aquariums by being open and by the possibility of being seen in a circular route, in an increasing visual proximity with the animals. The cods are first seen from an upper level; then, the Aquarium is traversed in a centrifugal manner up to the auditorium, where the largest window for viewing the animals is located.

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Inside the Aquarium, glass-fiber pieces simulating rock formations have been installed to recreate the ecosystem of the cod.
The cod that live in the main tank are specimens of marine origin, about half come from Norway, supplied by the Alesund Aquarium, a partner in this project, and the rest come from Denmark. They have a yellowish color due to the sandy bottom where they were raised. Our cod regularly feed on squid, shrimp, blue whiting, some bivalves, and small crustaceans.


Award-winning architecture

The Ílhavo Maritime Museum was distinguished with the CONSTRUIR award, established by the newspaper with the same name, which had in 2013 its sixth edition. Among the five projects selected in the Architecture category, the winner was the renovation project of the Ílhavo Maritime Museum, authored by the Cabinet ARX Portugal, from architects Nuno Mateus and José Mateus. It was distinguished as the best Public Project in the Architecture category.

This magnificent architectural and construction work, imagined in conjunction with the previous remodeling and expansion project of the Museum, inaugurated in October 2001 and also distinguished with several national and international awards, aimed to endow the Museum with a codfish aquarium and a new space for collection reserves. It was a daring project and a strategic investment by the Municipality of Ílhavo that, besides the recognition of the public that has visited it in great numbers, deserved a very honourable and important distinction to stimulate other local development projects with national impact.

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