Museu Marítimo de Ílhavo
The Maritime Museum of Ílhavo



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


Codfish Aquarium

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As part of the celebration of the 75th Anniversary of the Maritime Museum of Ílhavo (MMI), the Municipality of Ílhavo (CMI) opened, on the 13th January, the MMI Codfish Aquarium, a strong investment on the promotion of the maritime culture of Ílhavo, the Portuguese Capital of codfish.


The new enlargement of the Maritime Museum of Ílhavo, project of ARX Portugal, will result in a physical implantation northwest the existing building. The codfish aquarium and the museum stocks constitute a block of the lot of the former preparatory school, now converted in a research centre, the CIEMar-Ílhavo.
mmi-1.jpgThe new building of the museum includes autonomous urban equipment acquainted with the public space, the existing and the future expressed in the expansion plan of the city, a link between the museum and CIEMar-Íhavo.
Articulating these subunits, the new building may be defined as a centrifuge core developed at three levels:
1) Level -1 (elevation +9.40) presents itself as a technical floor, divided into three major functional areas:
a) quarantine/backing to support the aquarium;
b) stocks within the perspective of storage, maintenance and research;
c) technical areas of mechanical facilities and equipment;
2) Level 0 (elevation +13.40) is the access to the building, from the public space, through ramps, and from CIEMar-Ílhavo through an aerial hose above the garden. On this floor are the lobby and the reception, followed by the polyvalent room, designed for small meetings/conferences/workshops/multimedia projections/temporary exhibitions, and finally there is the aquarium room. This room works as a ramp around the tank simulating a journey that begins at the bottom of the ocean, through the surface, until an aerial view of the water. The circuit is thus punctuated with moments of clear view of the codfish, appealing to the physical interaction of the visitor. A small auditorium states a pause in the visit.
3) On level 1 (elevation +19.20) the ramps continue the circuit started around the tank. In this point of the circuit the distance from the water level increases, allowing panoramic views of the whole. The ramp, which is structured as a bridge over the tank, a transparent surface on the floor suggests the experience of hovering over the water. Then, comes the room with the exhibition discourse on the biogeography of the codfish. The exhibition extends through the aerial hose connection to the museum, from which one can also starts the visit making the circuit in reverse.

Maritime Museum of Ílhavo Codfish Aquarium


With a total investment of 2.8 million euros (85% co-financed by the Operational Program of the Center - More Center), the Codfish Aquarium integrates the Program for Urban Regeneration of the Historical Center of Ílhavo (RUCHI), completing the MMI exhibition discourse, it will provide the fullness of its new triple dimension: museum, aquarium and research, The last resulting from the activation of the Center for Entrepreneurship and Research (CIEMar-Ílhavo) which was inaugurated on March 31, 2012.

The new expanded building of the MMI develops in direct physical connection to the existing MMI building and the CIEMar building, containing the aquarium, a social area and also the museum stocks.

The Codfish Aquarium has a capacity for 120m3 of water and an average temperature of 12ºC. In order to achieve artificially the salinity conditions similar to the existing in the natural habitat it is being used a medicinal salt imported from Germany (as the national salt does not fulfill the required specifications).

The feeding of cod will be provided freely by APARA - Association of Artisanal Fisheries of the Aveiro Lagoon, a reliance on the development of institutional cooperation with the Municipality of Ilhavo, particularly with its Museum.

The MMI is a central element of the CMI bet in the values of their history, culture and maritime economy, being a differentiating factor of the Municipality that has The Sea by Tradition.


Cooperation with the Maritime Museum of Alesund (Norway)


The Institutional Cooperation between the Maritime Museum of Ílhavo and the Maritime Museum of Alesund began in 2006 during a visit of the President of the Municipality of Ílhavo, where it was possible to understand the functioning and verify the characteristics of a Codfish Aquarium, as well as discuss the first guidelines for collaboration between the two maritime museums, with the main objective of enhancing the spreading of the history and culture of codfish.

More recently, in 2011, the Vice-President of the Municipality of Ílhavo visited the Maritime Museum of Alesund, accompanied by the team of designers of the Maritime Museum Aquarium, in order to attend a series of technical meetings promoted within good institutional cooperation.

The Maritime Museum of Alesund plays an important role in institutional cooperation, providing technical support in the preparation and functioning of the Codfish Aquarium of the Maritime Museum of Ílhavo as well as on the free supply of the codfish that live in the MMI Aquarium.


»» Some facts / numbers:

» Project:

ARX Portugal Arquitectos, Ldª.

Project cost – 289.050,00€ (VAT Included)

» Contract job:

Contractor: Encobarra – Engenharia, SA

Contract Job cost – 2.934.708,00€ (VAT Included)


PO da Região Centro – Mais Centro: 2.439.627,50€

» Supervision:

Câmara Municipal de Ílhavo

»Technical Assistance (Aquarium functioning):


Technical assistance contract (3 months) -14.760,00 (VAT Included)

» Codfish Transportation:

Flying Sharks, Ldª

Cost: 14.000,00€ (VAT Included)

» Codfish feeding:

APARA – Associação de Pesca Artesanal da Ria de Aveiro: Free supply – Institutional Cooperation

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