Latest News

Back to Latest News back


NSW Government announces support for study into Coffs Harbour sea sanctuary for dolphins

NSW Government announces support for study into Coffs Harbour sea sanctuary for dolphins
December 15, 2020

A landmark inquiry released yesterday, The use of exotic animals in circuses and the exhibition of cetaceans in New South Wales, has recommended that the NSW Government provide support to Dolphin Marine Conservation Park (DMCP) in Coffs Harbour, Action for Dolphins and World Animal Protection to enable the completion of a feasibility study into relocating the dolphins currently exhibited in NSW to a sea sanctuary.

This inquiry was established to examine the welfare of exotic animals used in circuses and cetaceans exhibited in NSW. Ultimately, it considered whether using exotic animals in circus performance and the display of cetaceans, as well as the breeding of these animals, should be allowed to legally continue.

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

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 Head of Campaigns, Ben Pearson advised “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.

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

Changes within the global travel industry, have earlier this year seen Canada pass 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

The full report on the inquiry into ‘The use of exotic animals in circuses and exhibition of cetaceans in New South Wales’ is available here

Image top: Dolphins expressing natural behaviour; Image centre Coffs Harbour Dolphin sanctuary Render.

Related Articles

18th June 2019 - New Zealand Government plans to expand protection for Maui and Hector’s dolphins

26th February 2017 - NSW shark nets kill endangered dolphins and turtles

22nd May 2015 - Japanese aquariums to stop taking dolphins from annual Taiji hunt

7th January 2015 - Animal rights campaigners target Sea World dolphins

6th June 2014 - Kelly Tarlton’s Sea Life Aquarium dives in to support endangered dolphins

29th September 2013 - New staff and new programs for dolphins at Resorts World Sentosa’s Marine Life Park

15th April 2013 - Underwater camera system to Broadcast Port Stephens dolphins to the online world

16th October 2012 - Philippine court halts export of Resort World Sentosa’s dolphins

4th April 2012 - Rare dolphins boosted by South Island sea sanctuary

20th November 2020 - World Animal Protection billboard removed from Melbourne’s Lonsdale Street

13th November 2020 - World Animal Protection unveils new campaign calling for end to captive dolphin breeding at Gold Coast’s Sea World

28th June 2020 - Plans move forward for new dolphin sea sanctuary at Coffs Harbour

15th June 2019 - Coffs Harbour Dolphin Marine Conservation Park moves forward sea-pen sanctuary plan

19th March 2019 - Coffs Harbour’s marine attraction ends breeding dolphins in captivity

15th April 2017 - Coffs Harbour dolphin attraction facing court for ‘misleading’ animal welfare claims

Support our industry news service
We hope that you value the news that we publish so while you're here can we ask for your support?

As an independent publisher, we need reader support for our industry news gathering so ask that - if you don't already do so - you back us by subscribing to the printed Australasian Leisure Management magazine and/or our online news.

Click here to view our subscription options.


supplier directory

The Complete Guide to Leisure Industry Products & Services.

See the directory see all

Augmented Creative

Augmented Creative is an open organization of like-minded and highly dedicated, creative people who conceive, plan and execute visual solutions. We pursue new and innovative visual ideas to help…

read more

Arts / Attractions / Consultants / Design / Tourism



PathMinder Pty Ltd have partnered with AllUser Industries srl to bring Europe’s most advanced high security portals to the Australian and New Zealand markets. AllUser Industries started to…

read more

Access / Fitness / Recreation / Security


Altitude Training Systems

ATS are global leaders in altitude training and research. From mask systems and inflatable tents to simulated altitude facilities, we help all athletes gain the competitive edge. Our…

read more

Fitness / Sport / Technology



Intelligenz provides Leisure Management Software for managing all your Program Registrations, Facility Bookings, Membership Sales and POS Transactions; including detailed Reporting, automated…

read more

Access / Billing / Finance / Marketing / Technology


Pricemark Pty Ltd

Pricemark supplies a wide range of custom branded membership & RFID access products for the Health & Leisure Industry. 

read more




Technogym is the leading company in the Wellness and Fitness field all over the world. With 2,200 employees, 14 branches in Europe, U.S., South America, Asia  and Australia, Technogym exports its…

read more

Fitness / Technology / Wellness


Polin Waterparks

Polin was founded in Istanbul in 1976, and has since grown into a leading company in the waterparks industry. Today Polin is one of the world leaders in the design, production, and installation of…

read more

Aquatics / Attractions / Play / Waterparks


get listed with our suppliers directory

Get your business noticed in our targeted directory. Viewed by 10,000 industry professionals per week!

list your business