Phasing out cetacean captivity

There is a paradigm shift around the world of phasing out the keeping of cetaceans in captivity.  Here is a brief overview of some milestones, from a global perspective, including Europe.

As of 2018, these countries do not have cetaceans in captivity.
As of 2018, these countries have cetaceans in captivity.

Do you want to help move towards a Europe without captive cetaceans?  Read about some of the actions on our ‘Help Cetaceans‘ page.

European Milestones:

  • January 2017, the Italian Government shuts down Rimmi Dolfinarium due to poor conditions for the animals and no licence.
  • In 2016, the last dolphinarium in Finland closed due to reduced public attendance
  • In 2016, the City Council of Barcelona (Spain) voted against the construction of a new dolphinarium at Barcelona Zoo, in favour of moving the dolphins it has into a sanctuary.
  • May 2017, a Decree was proposed, banning the reproduction of all captive cetaceans in France.  However, the captivity industry fought this and overturned it.

Non-European milestones:

  • July 2013, Switzerland bans the importing of cetaceans into their country, effectively ending the keeping of cetaceans there, when Connyland transferred their last dolphins to another facility, outside of Switzerland.
  • March 2016, SeaWorld (USA) pledged to end orca breeding at all their current and future parks (although, note they have violated this pledge – see below)
  • In 2016, Baltimore National Aquarium (USA) pledged to retire their 7 dolphins to a sanctuary by 2020.
  • 1 June 2017, legislation implemented in California (USA);  bans the breeding or orca in the state.  No import or export of orca.  Those in captivity at the time may remain.