Posted by: The ocean update | March 21, 2016

Dolphin tourism centre proposed for Whyalla criticised by conservationists (Australia)

A pair of Whyalla dolphins get up close to the camera.

A pair of Whyalla dolphins get up close to the camera.

Monday, March 21st, 2016. A proposal to build a dolphin research and tourism hub in Whyalla has attracted criticism from marine conservationists who describe it as an “excuse” to feed the mammals for tourism.

The South Australian Government is considering plans for the new facility, which could attract thousands of visitors and help boost the city’s struggling economy (Ed Sibylline : and destroying each more time marine wildlife !).

The dolphins have been described as “the friendliest in the world” and have been coming to the city’s foreshore to be fed by hand for decades, despite the practice being illegal.

Troy Saville and his partner Verne Dove have presented the proposal to the local council.

Australian Marine Wildlife Research and Rescue Organisation’s Aaron Machado said given existing concerns about dolphin feeding at the site, there was little justification for a new development.

He questioned the need for research into the dolphin population.

“What additional research are they possibly going to put forward for the Whyalla dolphin population versus that of the Adelaide Dolphin Sanctuary or the Gulf St Vincent animals that are already being heavily researched by independent NGOs and universities ?” he said.

“I think it is just an excuse to go ahead and continue to feed these animals and bring tourism in that way.”

Mr Machado said there was significant evidence that human interaction was harming the local dolphin population.

“We have great concerns for that, and this has been going on for several years now and the Whyalla Council have ignored each and every proposal that we have put forward to stop interfering with these animals,” he said.

“If it’s going to be anything like the Monkey Mia scenario in Western Australia, that has severe adverse effects on the dolphin population there, and the long-term effects of that for the animals is terrible.”

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