Recommendation for a sea pen sanctuary at Coffs Harbour raised at Inquiry Into The Exhibition of Exotic Animals in Circuses and the Exhibition of Cetaceans in NSW

Terry Goodall at Dolphin Marine Conservation Park. Supplied.


A NSW Parliamentary Inquiry into the breeding and exhibition of circus animals and cetaceans met on August 13 and 14, hearing submissions from parties including industry and animal welfare groups.

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Among the many issues being considered by the Committee are whether cetaceans such as dolphins should be bred for exhibition, and if their exhibition should be phased out.

Terry Goodall, owner of Dolphin Marine Conservation Park (DMCP) in Coffs Harbour told News Of The Area that DMCP has already made changes which have addressed the concerns put forward.

“Over the last eighteen months our presentations have moved closer to the natural behaviours of dolphins,” Terry said.

“For example we no longer provide ‘dolphin kisses’.

“We’ve also re-focused on the original reason for the facility, such as rescue, rehabilitation and release of marine fauna.”

While DMCP has voluntarily not bred captive dolphins for over seven years, the dilemma is how best to protect the remaining three, who were born there and can’t be released into the wild.

Several of the animal welfare groups that provided submissions to the Inquiry recommended the dolphins be rehoused in a sea pen.

Terry said, “We’ve been working closely with Action for Dolphins and World Animal Protection in looking at a feasibility study for a sea pen to be built in Coffs Harbour, though Nambucca could be suitable too.”

“Manly Hydraulics, an engineering consultant company, found that it could be done, but it would be costly and government funding would be needed.”

It would also have to be built within reasonable reach of the support team based in Coffs Harbour.

“Animals in the sea pen would need ready access to veterinary care and supplementary feeding,” Terry said.

“Creating a sea sanctuary would also allow us to play a larger role in the rehabilitation and release of injured marine animals and endangered species conservation.”

The Committee recommendations are expected to be put to Parliament next year.




Artist’s impression of sea pen at Coffs Harbour. Supplied.

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