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SUVA, Fiji (Oceania Flash, Sept. 3) - New Caledonia's multi-million-dollar aquarium project, which gets significant funding from the European Union, has been officially opened.

The aquarium project, perceived to be a major boost to the French Pacific territory's capital, was scheduled to officially open late 2004, then the date was rescheduled several times, due to technical, design and logistical problems encountered last year and earlier this year.

Problems included a parasite larvae contamination of the water, which forced project managers to completely re-filter and purify the waters contained in the huge 400,000-litre main tank.

Additional costs incurred were taken care of by New Caledonia's territorial and provincial authorities.

Meanwhile, the original cost [estimate] of US$10 million is estimated to have reached some US$17 million due to the setbacks and delays.

The new 3,000-square-metre Nouméa aquarium project received some US$6.2 million from Brussels as part of the European Development Fund.

The French Pacific territories benefit from the European Union’s Development Fund under the EU’s Overseas Countries and Territories status.

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