Petty Harbour will soon have a new aquatic tourist attraction.

The Petty Harbour Mini Aquarium will feature 30 fish tanks, where people can reach in and touch whatever species local divers have been able to bring in.

It's modelled after a similar aquarium in British Columbia.

Executive Director Melanie Knight came up with the idea of developing the project locally, to allow the public to have a closer look at what swims, scuttles and crawls in the Atlantic Ocean.

Knight said it's about raising awareness of conservation and ocean life.

ii-knight-melanie-20130502

Executive Director Melanie Knight said it's about raising awareness of conservation and ocean life. (CBC)

"It is scientifically proven that individuals who visit aquariums feel more connected to nature, think more critically about their role in conservation, and see themselves as part of the solution," she said.

"Aquariums will foster our next generation of change-makers."

Petty Harbour Mayor Ron Doyle said he sees it as a tourist attraction, possibly keeping the public in the town a little longer.

"One time people would, and they still do ... they come here over the last few years, you know, take a few pictures, the photo opportunity, maybe grab an ice cream or a Pepsi or something, and then they were gone," Doyle said.

Geoff Parker of the Hebron Consortium, which is contributing $100,000 towards the project, said it's well-suited to the area.

"This is such a good fit, with our aims about educating the youth in the province and encouraging the next generation of leaders in our industry," he said.

The aquarium is scheduled to open June 15 at the Petty Harbour Fishermen's Co-op.