Since 2018 we have been working with World Animal Protection on a dolphin sea sanctuary campaign in NSW.
If you’ve been following our journey, you would know we have completed multiple studies for the feasibility study to move the remaining three dolphins in captivity in NSW – Zippy, Bella, and Jet – to a sanctuary in the Coffs Harbour basin.
Yet in recent years this project has stalled due to a lack of Government support.
Government backing is essential for this sanctuary project to happen. The sanctuary would be built on Government land and require sign off from multiple Government agencies. Additionally, the cost of the project has been estimated at more than $3 million. A project of that scale requires Government funding and support.
Over two years ago a parliamentary inquiry recommended the NSW Government provide support to Action for Dolphins, Dolphin Marine Conservation Park and World Animal Protection for the completion of the feasibility study into relocating the dolphins at Dolphin Marine Conservation Park to a sea sanctuary.
Despite this, no meaningful support was provided. Over 24,000 signatures were sent to the then Environment Minister Matt Kean to back the project – but these voices fell on deaf ears.
With the Labor Government gaining power in NSW earlier this year, this is a new opportunity for support for this project.
We have written to NSW Environment Minister the Hon Penny Sharpe to meet and seek her support to establish the sea sanctuary in Coffs Harbour.
Suzanne Milthorpe, Head of Campaigns at World Animal Protection, says:
“A sea sanctuary is the best available outcome for captive dolphins, as they cannot be released into the wild. We are calling on the Government to act on the parliamentary inquiry’s recommendation and give Zippy, Bella and Jet their best chance to live out their lives in the ocean, where they belong.
“Undeniably, this project would be a win for the dolphins, a win for the community and a win for the local economy.”
Hannah Tait, CEO at Action for Dolphins, says: “We were disappointed by the response of the previous government in NSW to their own inquiry recommendations.
We’re hoping this new government will show their support for Zippy, Bella, and Jet”
Thank you so much for sticking by Zippy, Bella, and Jet while we work to gain Government support for this project.