Mexico City has banned dolphinariums, aquariums that only keep dolphins captive, putting an end to the practice within the city’s vicinity. The ban includes sea lions, and all animals present within the city must be relocated to sanctuaries within the next six months. Those who do not comply with the law face a fine of up to 300,960 pesos ($15,000).
The majority of politicians were in favour of the ban, with no votes against the ban and twenty six politicians didn’t attend. Mexico City has been taking steps to improve the welfare of captive dolphins, with laws passing last year that prohibited any dolphin shows, scientific research on dolphins, therapy and swimming with dolphin tourist opportunities. Mexico city also banned animal circuses back in 2014, with the rest of the country following soon after.
Improved welfare standards and the release of dolphins in captivity have been campaigned for by different charities, including the likes of PETA and AnimaNaturalis. Governments around the world are beginning to recognise the needs of marine animals that are kept in captivity, with Chile, Costa Rica and Croatia having banned the captivity of cetaceans.
In North America, Vancouover Aquarium announced earlier this year that they are no longer keeping dolphins and whales in captivity, and in 2016, the National Aquarium in Baltimore announced plans to move their eight bottlenose dolphins to a sanctuary.
Renowned documentary Blackfish has played a big role in the reduced visitor numbers after exposing the shocking truth behind marine parks, notably SeaWorld. Campaigning continues for SeaWorld to empty the tanks, with news that they failed an animal welfare audit carried out by Thomas Cook.