During a symposium held in the Basel Zoo May 24-25, 1972, the participating aquarium curators decided to form a European Union of Aquarium Curators to ensure a closer contact between them in the future. The main objective of this Union would be to organise regular symposia during which topics and problems of general interest would be discussed.
During these symposia ample time would be allotted for personal contact between the participants. As far as possible, working parties would be formed well ahead of each symposium to prepare reviews or other basic material for the topics under discussion. This, we hoped would ensure clear and sound discussion. Another important objective of the Union could be to publish irregular circulars in which members could put short communications, offers of surplus animals, wanted species, pleas for help and advice from colleagues in special problems and other items. We were also interested in exchanging bulletins and newsletters with aquariums in the Americas. It was decided in Basel not to form a board of governors but to appoint the next three years a secretary only.
In the years following years as the Union developed, we would have ample time to see whether we needed a board of governors or not. It was moreover decided, for obvious reasons, that membership of the Union must be personal and restricted to curators of aquariums (public and scientific). However, membership is not restricted to the fish-people only. But, as many of us also are curators of reptiles, membership is also open to them. Membership should also be open to those who are professionally involved in fishes or reptiles in other capacities than as curator of an Aquarium or Reptile House, for instance veterinarians specialising in fish or reptile diseases.
The Founding members were : J. Lange (Wilhelma Aquarium Stuttgart), R. Honegger (Zürich Zoo), K. Lüders (Willemshaven Aquarium), W. Neugebauer (Wilhelma Zoo Stuttgart), U. Richter (Hamburg Zoo), G. Rümpler (Bremerhaven), M. Zahn (Aquarium Düsseldorf), P. Suder (Aquarium Basel Zoo), P. Van den Sande (Aquarium Antwerp Zoo), H. Jes (Aquarium Kölner Zoo).
The intention was to meet every year. From the first meeting on we had invitations from aquariums and zoos to host such meetings. The yearly meetings went on for some years (1972-1974). During the Charlottenlund meeting the assembly proposed to meet only every two years and since then this sequence was adopted.
From the beginning on we instaured two types of personal membership:
° Full membership for those people directly involved as a curator in the aquarium.
° Associated membership for those people from whom the knowledge and training could bring useful information from any field that could have some impact on, or enrich the professional skills of the aquarium curator and that could help in the development of the aquariology.
Questions about membership, relations with other zoo or aquarium organisations, ethical and managment will be dealt with by the members attending, in an administrative session to be included in the program of each biennial meeting. when it should come to a vote, only full members can vote.
The number of participants as well as the number of presentations was constantly increasing and gradually parallel programs for the accompanying partner were organised. These gatherings have also an important social character as informal talks and contracts ocure easily.
It appeared that sometimes we needed an extra meeting for special events such as the opening of a new faculty, the enlargement of an existing aquarium or zoo, events that did not always coincide with the year of the biennial meeting. This resulted in several "workshop" meetings, generally shorter in time than the biennial meetings. In order to enforce the international contracts the members of the E.U.A.C. participated in international meetings such as the AAZPA meeting in Pittzburg.
Our American colleagues went on. Since that date some American colleagues attend our meetings as observers and bring us some information on the evolution in US aquariums.
In 1998 the Institute of Oceanography in Monaco organised the second International Aquariology Congress (IAC) as a constitution of an initiative that started in 1958 with the first IAC. The E.U.A.C. meeting was integrated in this international meeting.
At this meeting a majority of the members present felt the need for some kind of criteria for membership and a kind of code of ethics adopted. From the nineties, we witnessed the creation of a great numbers of independent aquariums in Europe. This lead to an increasing number of new members and since then we went back to yearly meetings.
In 1998, during our meeting in Barcelona, the general assembly decided to propose a constitution and register E.U.A.C. officially as a professional organisation. A new set of criteria was adopted, a bureau of executive officers was elected and a committee was installed, Registration procedure was started and since February of 2000-05-22 we are officially registered under Catalan Law.