Marine Mammal Parks: Education or Exploitation?

Written by on July 24, 2013 in Other News, Policy & Ocean Law

The concept of keeping marine mammals in captivity has been debated for a while now, but things are heating up this month with the release of Blackfish and the first ever Empty the Tanks event.

This Saturday, July 27, is the first annual Empty the Tanks Worldwide event. On Saturday, people around the world will gather at aquariums and marine mammal parks for protests and educational events to send a message to those in the captivity industry. The goal of Empty the Tanks is to teach people the truth about marine mammals in captivity and remind everyone that the only way to close those parks is to get the public to stop buying tickets.

Even though this is the first year, there are already 23 locations in 11 countries participating in the event.¬†Empty the Tanks organizer Rachel Greenhalgh told MST that “social media is what helped get this event to the status it is today.”

I asked Rachel when she though we might see an end to marine mammals in captivity and she replied that it is up to the public.

“They are the ones buying the tickets to SeaWorld and to swim with dolphin programs while on vacation,” she said. “Several other countries have banned dolphin shows and parks such as SeaWorld so I think it is only a matter of time before they become a thing of the past all over the world. How long that will take though, I just don’t know.”

If you’re interested in participating, click here to find an event located near you and stay updated via the Empty the Tanks Facebook page.

To learn more:
-Check out this post from David Kirby: Activists to Orca Enslavers: Thanks, but No Tanks
-Read Dr. Marino’s post about dolphin therapy: Dolphins are not healers
-Read more about dolphin therapy: Dolphin Therapy Summed Up in Two Words: Big Scam
-Learn about a whale who escaped to freedom: Dolphin Makes Early Break for Freedom From Korean Rehab Facility

Copyright © 2013 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.

About the Author

About the Author: Emily Tripp is the Publisher and Editor of She holds marine science and biology degrees from the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and a Master of Advanced Studies degree in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. When she's not writing about marine science, she's probably running around outside or playing with her dog. .


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  1. Lauren says:

    How can I purchase a bracelet?

  2. Emily says:

    Here’s a link to where you can buy the bracelets online:!wristbands-and-bracelets/ctah