Australia: Iconic Coffs Harbour dolphinarium axes breeding program - PressFrom - Australia

AustraliaIconic Coffs Harbour dolphinarium axes breeding program

09:07  14 march  2019
09:07  14 march  2019 Source:

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Iconic Coffs Harbour dolphinarium axes breeding program© AAP/Pet Porpoise Pool The recently rebranded Dolphin Marine Conservation Park announced today that it no longer intends to breed its dolphins in line with the future direction of the organisation. The last captive dolphin venue in NSW has announced it will end its dolphin breeding program and move to a rehabilitation and rescue model.

The Coffs Harbour-based dolphinarium - famously known as Dolphin Marine Magic but which recently rebranded to Dolphin Marine Conservation Park – made the announcement today after years of scrutiny.

The only other captive dolphin venue in the country, Sea World on the Gold Coast, has more than 30 animals in its tanks, making it one of the largest in the world.

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Coffs Harbour is a city on the Mid North Coast of New South Wales, Australia, 540 km (340 mi) north of Sydney, and 390 km (240 mi) south of Brisbane.

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“For far too long these beautiful creatures have been the subject of cruel exploitation and harassment. My legislation made it an offence to take them from the sea,” former premier of NSW Bob Carr told

“I am pleased with this decision. I introduced the legislation, the Marine Mammals Protection Bill in 1986, when I was a young minister in planning and environment.

“Sea World on the Gold Coast now needs to follow suit.”

Mr Carr’s push to end dolphin captivity started in 1986 when he served as NSW minister for planning and the ­environment, however thanks to a legislative loophole allowing the breeding in captivity, one dolphinarium remained; Dolphin Marine Magic.

Iconic Coffs Harbour dolphinarium axes breeding program© AAP/Pet Porpoise Pool Dolphin Marine Conservation Park currently has five dolphins on site.

Managing Director of Dolphin Marine Conservation Park Terry Goodall said he's excited to take the venue in its new direction.

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This is a list of known dolphinariums worldwide. Many of these places are more than just dolphinariums ; the list includes themeparks, marine mammal parks, zoos or aquariums that may also have more than one species of dolphin.

“We haven’t been breeding dolphins for some time now, but we’ve ultimately decided it doesn’t fit into our business model anymore. We’re moving into an education, rescue and conservation model,” Goodall said.

“For fifty years we’ve done rescue and rehabilitation, but it’s been out the back - so to speak. We’re planning to bring that to the forefront and educate the public.”

Iconic Coffs Harbour dolphinarium axes breeding program© AAP/ Diana Plater One of the dolphins gets put through his hoop at Coffs Harbour.

Dolphin Marine Conservation Park has also been working closely with animal welfare groups.

“We are doing a project with Action for Dolphins and World Animal Protection looking at the viability of a sea pen, but that will take some time to say if it will or won’t work. Ultimately, we must see if it’s in the best interest for the dolphins,” Goodall said.

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Based in Coffs Harbour since January 1995, he has trained and worked in India, Malaysia, the United Kingdom, United States and Australia. He brings a wealth of experience and expertise to the Mid-North Coast region. His practice incorporates a wide range of Plastic Surgery techniques ranging from

CEO of Action for Dolphins CEO Sarah Lucas said: “We welcome the news that these five dolphins will be the last generation under human care in NSW.

“Dolphin Marine Conservation Park has been an iconic institution in Coffs Harbour for more than 40 years. Action for Dolphins is excited to be part of the new direction the marine park is taking in exploring the option of a sea sanctuary as a possible new home for its dolphins.

“Dolphin sanctuaries are being established in the US and Europe but now that the feasibility study is going ahead, this one in Coffs Harbour could be the first of its kind in the world.”

The news comes as World Animal Protection this week launched a petition against Sea World, calling for the Queensland Government to ban captive dolphin breeding in the theme park.

Iconic Coffs Harbour dolphinarium axes breeding program© World Animal Protection / Dean Sewell World Animal Protection argues the enclosures do not sufficiently match the marine environment.

“We welcome the announcement from Dolphin Marine Conservation Park today to no longer breed its dolphins,” Senior Campaign Manager for World Animal Protection Ben Pearson told

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A dolphinarium is an aquarium for dolphins. The dolphins are usually kept in a large pool, though occasionally they may be kept in pens in the open sea, either for research or for public performances.

“Sea World on the Gold Coast is now the only dolphin park in Australia breeding captive dolphins.  This is out of step with community attitudes and global trends away from keeping dolphins captive for entertainment. They have enough dolphins and need to start planning for the future by investigating the possibility of a sea sanctuary.”

Pearson said that Sea World’s breeding program goes against the basic tenet of conservation as bottlenose dolphins are not an endangered species.

“There’s nothing about this that is about conservation,” he said.

“If they rescued a dolphin in the wild and they rehabilitated it, then put it in the wild, they’d have our support, but breeding in captivity is not doing that.”

“A dolphin in captivity can live 50 years. In the wild, a bottlenose would swim 100kms a day, it can dive hundreds of meters deep.  They have a rich marine environment. There is no way a small concrete pool in Sea World can in any way replicate that.”

In 1985 the Australian senate had an enquiry into keeping dolphins and whales in captivity which found captivity was associated with stress and suffering.

Iconic Coffs Harbour dolphinarium axes breeding program© AAP / Dean Lewins Former foreign minister Bob Carr speaks to the media about comments he has made in his book 'Diary of a Foreign Minister' in Sydney.

Sea World told it stood by its breeding program.

“While we are aware that some people do not support the idea of animals in human care, we are proud of our passionate team, our world-class facilities and our position as a global community leader in conservation and education,” a spokesperson told

“The majority of our dolphins have been born at Sea World as part of our managed breeding program, which has been in place for many years.

“Some animals are third generation and others were transferred to Sea World many years ago when other facilities in Australia and New Guinea closed.

“The dolphins at Sea World live in social groups and play and interact with each other as they do in the wild. All of the breeding at Sea World is done as part of a managed breeding program and is done naturally.”

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