NSW is currently home to one dolphinarium: the Dolphin Marine Conservation Park (previously known as Dolphin Marine Magic). The site of almost weekly protests, the business has been rocked by scandal for years.
- Dolphin Marine Magic in Coffs Harbour is home to five dolphins, which guests can touch and even get “kisses” from, as well as a small number of seals and penguins.
- Following numerous complaints, in 2014 the Department of Primary Industries sent one of its staff members to inspect the park. The DPI did not seek any independent veterinary advice about the condition of the animals or the environment, and relied on evidence from Dolphin Marine Magic’s own vet. It also relied on a survey of the pool sizes conducted by the park and did not obtain its own assessment.
- The negligence by DPI in this visit compelled Action for Dolphins to refer the incident to the NSW corruption watchdog ICAC after it was revealed the then Minister’s children swam for free with the dolphins during their visit. The minister denied any wrongdoing. ICAC chose not to investigate.
- From 2015-2016 Dolphin Marine Magic came under intense public scrutiny following the death of one of its infant captive dolphins (Baby Ji) who had ingested a large amount of debris and leaf litter from his tank. A park vet attempted to remove the leaf litter by reaching a hand into the baby animal’s stomach and pull them out. The procedure failed and Ji suffered a heart attack and died. Then park manager Paige Sinclair refused to release the autopsy of Ji.
- In 2016, the previous owner of Dolphin Marine Magic criticized the park’s new management, saying the park “overworks” the dolphins and causes them stress. “They do two shows a day, three times in holiday periods, and they've always got people in the pool swimming with them.”
- Action for Dolphins argues that the park is still keeping Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins in enclosures that allow them to swim less than 1 per cent of their usual range in the wild.
- The pools at Dolphin Marine Magic do not meet the NSW standard for exhibiting bottle-nosed dolphins, but the business has been granted a licence variation by the NSW Department of Primary Industries.