- Ards Borough Council
- Northern Ireland
Exploris in Portaferry is a unique facility for tourism, education and recreation within Northern Ireland. It is Northern Ireland's only aquarium and reflects the very special marine environment of Strangford Lough, an Area of Special Scientific Interest, and the neighbouring Irish Sea. It has a seal sanctuary and tends to other distressed marine creatures.
It provides seawater for the adjacent Queens University Marine Laboratory. While Exploris does not make money and has substantial running costs, it delivers a footfall of 100 000 people a year to Portaferry, which has a tremendous impact for local businesses in an area already suffering from high unemployment and rural deprivation.
The loss of Exploris will have a devastating effect on Portaferry and the surrounding area.