DPI puts Dolphin Marine Magic 'all but out of business'
COFFS Harbour MP Andrew Fraser has slammed the Department of Primary Industries for an unwarranted crackdown he says could send Dolphin Marine Magic bust.
The tourist facility has been locked a long battle to keep its seals, with shifting animal welfare regulations mandating expensive enclosure upgrades.
Management rejected a $400,000 plan to improve the facility, coming back to DPI with a $150,000 option it believed complied with standards.
"The department has made the operation of Dolphin Marine Magic so hard that it has all but put it out of business,” Mr Fraser warned.
He said Taronga Zoo was not held to the same high standard, and blasted DPI officials for taking a month to respond to Dolphin Marine Magic's $150,000 blueprint.
When it did respond, the DPI stated: "I have briefly reviewed the concept and my provisional thoughts are that I cannot provide in principal support as it is unlikely to meet standards in its current format.”
"It would appear that Dolphin Marine Magic must respond within a fortnight, but the DPI can take its own good time,” Mr Fraser said.
"I say to the minister and to this house that the facilities for animals at Dolphin Marine Magic are better than those provided at Taronga Zoo.”
The facility came under fire when a juvenile bottle-nosed dolphin died after eating leaf litter in October last year.
"But that has very little to do with the keeping of seals,” Mr Fraser said.