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MEDIA RELEASE - Protesters challenge controversial Coffs Harbour marine park

June 5, 2015  

Australia for Dolphins


Protesters challenge controversial Coffs Harbour marine park

On June 6th protesters will gather in front of Dolphin Marine Magic, a controversial marine park in Coffs Harbour for international Empty the Tanks Day. Australian conservation and animal welfare NGOs will be in attendance, including Australia for Dolphins, the Australian Institute of Marine Rescues, and Empty the Tanks.

According to Ms. Jordan Sosnowski, Advocacy Director of Australia for Dolphins, “Dolphin Marine Magic places its own financial interests above animal welfare.

“The marine park violates several standards for exhibiting dolphins, including one that states visitors to the park must be encouraged not to kiss the animals. You only have to look at Dolphin Marine Magic’s phone number to see they are in blatant breach of this law – the number is 1300 KISSES’.

“Engineers have shown that the primary pool is far too small to house six dolphins. Keeping intelligent, migratory animals in a cramped space for more than 40 years is inherently cruel.

“Dolphin Marine Magic already has a licence variation because its show pool also falls well short of the required size, and the seal pool is terribly overcrowded. Instead of rising to meet legislation put in place to protect animals, Dolphin Marine Magic has instead applied for yet another variation – this time to outrageously house 20 seals in a pool that is legally only built to house five.

“The dolphins are also made to give members of the public rides and have their teeth brushed daily by tourists, in spite of legislation that states handling of dolphins “should be kept to a minimum”, and that there should be barriers between dolphins and members of the public. These laws are in place to protect the dolphins from diseases transferred by humans.

“AFD has particular concerns regarding Bucky, the park’s “star” performer. Bucky is 45 years old, which is the equivalent of being in his nineties in human years. Despite being in remission from cancer he is still made to carry out a demanding schedule - performing circus-style tricks in up to three shows a day.

“A vast body of scientific research shows dolphins are highly social and intelligent animals that swim vast distances in the wild. It also shows they suffer in captive environments. Because of this, cetacean captivity has already been phased out in a number of countries, including India, the UK, and Switzerland. Australia’s Select Senate Committee on Animal Welfare has strongly recommended that dolphin captivity be phased out in Australia.

“Animal welfare concerns regarding cetacean captivity have grown widely since the 2013 documentary Blackfish, which showed how traumatic captivity is for orcas. People no longer want to see dolphins, which are incredibly intelligent, wild animals, trapped in small tanks performing unnatural tricks for frozen fish.”

After pressure from Australia for Dolphins, the national Zoo and Aquarium Association are currently investigating Dolphin Marine Magic for breaches of its Code of Practice. The park has also been recently investigated by the NSW Department of Primary Industries for animal welfare breaches.

Earlier this year the Sydney Swans AFL team cancelled a planned visit to the marine park after immense pressure from concerned members of the community.

Protest will take place on the 6th June from 12 until 3pm in front of Dolphin Marine Magic, located at 65 Orlando St, Coffs Harbour, NSW.

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