RAW 2011!     

Thanks Beth and the entire Virginia Aquarium crew for hosting such a great event in May.  A new record for attendance and a continuation of RAW’s emergence as the premiere venue for professional aquarist information exchange.  Congratulations on a job very well done.  Thanks also to everyone in attendance.  RAW continues to grow in scope primarily out of the interest and enthusiasm that each year’s attendees bring forward.  A heartfelt thank you to all the vendor sponsors that continue to support RAW.  The tremendous value of each year’s event is due to outstanding host hospitality, continued vendor support and high quality professional discussions amongst the entire assembly. 


As we look forward to RAW 2012 in Chicago at the Shedd Aquarium, here is some helpful information for your budgeting and travel scheduling purposes:


AZA TAG, CAP and other working meetings are scheduled for Monday, 9 April.  Workshop presentations will take place Tuesday through Thursday 10-12 April.  Tentatively planning for a Quarantine workshop on Friday, 13 April.


The proceedings will take place in the Swissotel Chicago, with rooms reserved at $149/night for single and double occupancy, $179 for triple and $209 for quadruple occupancy.  Getting to the hotel from either airport (Midway or O’Hare) is easy with train stops within a couple of blocks from the hotel or convenient shuttles.  If you are planning to drive, please budget for parking, which can run $50/day.  RAW registration fee is set at $75, and please don’t wait until the last minute as it creates all sorts of logistical problems for the host in planning transportation, meals, workshop materials, etc.


Mark Schick will be updating this website with all the relevant information, so check back in the near future for more RAW 2012 goodies.


Looking farther ahead, RAW 2013 travels to Atlanta, Georgia as we join the Georgia Aquarium crew in a spirited game of aquarist Olympic water polo with the giant fish.



Greg Whittaker

RAW Advisory Chair

Moody Gardens


Congratulations and thank you to all the speakers and poster presenters at RAW 2011. The program was stellar and we have gotten a great positive response from the attendees!

The RAW Program Committee and the Virginia Aquarium Host Committee are proud to announce the winners of the BEST OF RAW 2011.

  • Collection, Transport, and Shipping of the Portuguese Man-of-War, Physalia physalis, to an inland aquarium --James Clark- Shedd Aquarium

  • Food First, Then Fish – Jim Prappas – Landry’s Restaurants Inc

  • Good Husbandry is Enrichment – Bryan McNeil- Seattle Aquarium

  • Behavioral Modification in Large White Seabass (Atractoscion nobilis) to Facilitate Transfer

  • Between Tanks –Chris Mirabal—California Science Center

  • Building Guest Diving Experience Programs from the Ground Up – Mike Terrell – Florida Aquarium

  • Closed System Culture of Abalone for Future Out Planting in a Public Aquarium—Aaron Hovis, Aquarium of the Pacific

  • How to Select a Sustainable Aquarium Animal Supplier—Laura Simmons – Cairns Marine

  • Marine Exotic Species Removal – Ashleigh Clews—National Aquarium  (DC)

  • Efforts in Rockfish Conservation in Puget Sound – Dave Smith-- Point Defiance Zoo and Tim Carpenter --Seattle Aquarium

Congratulations to all speakers and their host institutions on this honor!

See you in Chicago in 2012!

The Regional Aquatics Workshop is looking for a host facility for 2013.  You can realize your wildest dreams and have over 200 fishphile colleagues invade your workplace for a week of innovative knowledge sharing, problem solving and thinktanking. Follow these 3 easy steps and you’ll be on your way to hosting the first official International gathering of the “wet-set” movers and shakers in the post-Mayan era.
First, take a look at the “about RAW” page to learn all there is about the Regional Aquatics Workshop.  Take advantage of the contact information for recent hosts to really get a feel for what’s involved.  The increasing success we’re seeing is a direct result of the great cooperation in passing the torch year to year.
Second, get your facility Director’s blessing in taking on the responsibility as a host.  You might also approach a nearby neighbor facility if it logistically makes sense to co-host.  Remember, visiting aquariums and stealing good ideas is a big benefit for attendees.
Third, present your host facility bid to the RAW attendees during this year’s meeting in Virginia.  A simple powerpoint slideshow that showcases what your facility has to offer, a few examples of hotel rates and airfare deals and highlights of attractions the typical RAW attendee might find interesting in the area.
Contact me directly with questions  or your intent to make a pitch before Wednesday, 4 May.  See you in Virginia Beach.
Greg Whittaker

Call for Papers – Sea Turtle Session


Sea turtles continue to comprise a rather unique niche in aquariums as one of the few groups of marine reptiles with a long history of public display. In addition, there has been a consistent rise in the involvement of aquariums with in situ conservation of sea turtles, including the rescue and rehabilitation of stranded animals. The recent experience of the Gulf Oil Spill has offered a dramatic example of the need for continuing development of our understanding of sea turtle natural history and animal care. This session will provide a forum for the discussion of current activities related to the husbandry and conservation of sea turtles.  Subject areas may include: related aspects of sea turtle biology; growth and nutrition; medical management including rehabilitation case studies; enrichment; legislative issues; and education, research and conservation opportunities.


If you are interested in a presentation, please send an abstract (maximum 300 words) to my attention (MSwingle@VirginiaAquarium.com) no later than March 4, 2011.  The sea turtle session will be conducted on Friday (May 6) during the workshop.  Because of this extremely short time frame, I will be in contact with all potential presenters immediately upon receipt of abstracts.  Please contact me with any questions about the sea turtle session.  I hope to see many of you at RAW in Virginia Beach this May.


Mark Swingle

Director of Research & Conservation

Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center

Phone:  (757) 385-0326

FAX:  (757) 437-4976

E-mail:  MSwingle@VirginiaAquarium.com

Special Announcement:
ZIMS in Action: Implementing ZIMS in Your Aquarium
April 30, 2011 8:30 am - 4:30 pm at the Virginia Aquarium in Virginia Beach
As one of the first aquarium adopters of the ISIS Zoological Information Management System (ZIMS) application, the Virginia Aquarium would like to invite you to preview their implementation and use of this innovative animal management software. This preview will happen as a pre-event to the Regional Aquatics Workshop hosted by Virginia Aquarium.
During this day-long session, ISIS and Virginia Aquarium staff will:
• discuss use of the application for aquariums
• give you an overview of deployment of the ZIMS application in an aquarium
• and demonstrate the application as it has been implemented in Virginia Aquarium
During this session you will get a first-hand view of how Virginia Aquarium is using the application, and how it may help your aquarium. This session will include hands-on demonstrations and learning opportunities. Please bring a laptop computer.
Participation is limited to 30 (we suggest not more than two participants per institution). There is no additional fee for this event. Group transportation to and from the Sheraton Oceanfront (RAW 2011 Conference Hotel) and the Virginia Aquarium will be provided for all attendees of the preview.
If you have additional questions or would like to register, please contact Michele Peters (mpeters@isis.org) at ISIS

Hello RAW Participants!

The Regional Aquatics Workshop (RAW) is being hosted in May 2011, by the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center, in Virginia Beach. The staff of the Aquarium and the RAW Advisory Committee would like to cordially invite you to attend the 25th Regional Aquatics Workshop.

The purpose of RAW is to provide a forum for the presentation, discussion and dissemination of information detailing captive maintenance and husbandry practices in large-scale aquaria.  Attendees of RAW include aquarists, curators, life support system operators and directors from large and small public aquariums and zoos all over the world. With over 200 attendees expected, the diversity and worldwide representation provides an excellent forum to showcase and share knowledge, challenges and questions with colleagues. RAW is not just another conference, it is an opportunity for the professional aquarist to grow, develop, learn, network and share ideas. The public aquarium community is constantly striving to grow and improve and there is no better way to get your feet wet with what is going on in the industry than to attend RAW.

So mark you calendars, get those budgets set and join us in May of 2011, when we bring RAW to the Beach!

See you there!

Beth Firchau

Curator of Fishes

Dive Operations Supervisor

Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center

Virginia Beach, Virginia 23451



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