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Coffs Dolphins Swim Closer To A Sea Sanctuary

December 17, 2020 Visit Oceania No Comments

Captive dolphins housed at the Dolphin Marine Conservation Park (DMCP) in Coffs Harbour are closer to being moved to a sea sanctuary.

Today, a landmark inquiry into the use of exotic animals in circuses and the exhibition of cetaceans in NSW recommended that the NSW Government provide support to DMCP, Action for Dolphins and World Animal Protection to enable the completion of a feasibility study into relocating the dolphins to a sea sanctuary.

The parties have been working together on a feasibility study since 2018.

The inquiry also recommended stronger limitations on the breeding of dolphins, asking the government to consider restricting it to conservation or protection purposes. This would rule out the breeding of further dolphins for entertainment in NSW.

Another recommendation of the inquiry that the NSW Government provide financial assistance for DMCP’s rescue and rehabilitation work, is also supported.

World Animal Protection is calling on the Government to immediately accept the inquiry recommendations, so the current feasibility study of the sanctuary can be finalised, and so future breeding of dolphins for entertainment is ruled out.

Head of Campaigns at World Animal Protection, Ben Pearson said:

“We are thrilled the inquiry has recommended the government fund the continuation of the feasibility study into a sea sanctuary for the dolphins at DMCP.

“A sanctuary would be a win for the dolphins, a win for DMCP’s employees and a win for Coffs Harbour.

“Dolphins can live up to 50 years in captivity, so we are hopeful they will live out their years in a larger and more natural environment.

“This will be the best available outcome for the dolphins, as they cannot be released into the wild.”

In World Animal Protection’s submission to the inquiry, it was outlined that the sea sanctuary could also serve as a rescue and rehabilitation facility for wild dolphins and other injured animals.

Such a sanctuary would be among the first in the world established for captive dolphins, and a tourist drawcard for Coffs Harbour, as well as a generator of jobs and economic development.

World Animal Protection along with other animal welfare organisations, including World Cetacean Alliance and Action for Dolphins, have publicly campaigned for a ban on captive dolphin breeding in Australia for years, so this news for NSW comes as an exciting announcement.

Now that DMCP has stopped breeding dolphins, Sea World on the Gold Coast is now the only venue in Australia where captive breeding still takes place.

Encouragingly, research* shows 66% of Australians prefer to see dolphins in the wild, and 59% are willing to pay an extra half more for this experience.

The tide is also turning when it comes to the companies that facilitate bookings at dolphin venues around the world. Major travel brands including TripAdvisor and have already committed to stop selling tickets to dolphin shows and encounters.

As well as changes from the travel industry, earlier this year Canada passed a ban on keeping dolphins, whales and porpoises for entertainment, and in September France banned captive dolphin breeding.

World Animal Protection is calling on the public to be a voice for dolphins and sign their pledge to only see dolphins in the wild on their website at

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