End of the line for Tower Aquarium

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Experts converged on Blackpool Tower Aquarium today, to help write the final chapter for one of the resort's oldest attractions.

More than 200 fish, ranging from tiny tropical marine trigger fish to huge freshwater South American Pacu, are to be carefully removed to make way for new developments.

Planned with almost military precision, the operation actually began on Sunday evening, but the bigger fish will be moved out on today and tomorrow.

The Tower Aquarium is older than the tower itself. Originally Dr Cocker's Menagerie, it had been operating on the site for 19 years when the Tower opened in 1894.

The Tower's new custodians Merlin Entertainments already own a Blackpool aquarium - the Sea Life Centre - a short distance along the promenade, and need the space occupied by the ancient aquarium for a new Blackpool Dungeon, one of £10m worth of planned new attractions.

Iain Hawkins, head of Merlin's Blackpool Cluster, said: "We can accommodate most of the fish at the Sea Life Centre, and others can be quarantined until we find suitable new homes at other centres in the group.

"It's always sad when a famous old attraction closes, but aquarium technology has advanced so much there really isn't any point in keeping the Tower Aquarium going, with a state-of-the-art Sea Life Centre just up the road."