5th April 2017

    Notice of motion.


    The Hon. MARK PEARSON (11:03): I seek leave to amend Private Members’ Business item No. 1270 outside the Order of Precedence for today of which I have given notice by omitting “first licenced” in paragraph (1) and inserting instead “first permitted”.

    Leave granted.

    The Hon. MARK PEARSON: Accordingly, I move:

    (1)That this House commends Dolphin Swim Australia for being the first permitted wild dolphin swim in New South Wales and the first swim system of its kind worldwide.

    (2)That this House notes that Dolphin Swim Australia:

    (a)was given a permit to operate a wild dolphin swim encounter in the offshore waters of Port Stephens Great Lakes Marine Park in January 2010 and is now in its seventh season;

    (b)was subject to an independently monitored and government-approved research program initially conducted over three years by cetacean expert Dr Carol Scarpaci, of Victoria University, New Zealand;

    (c)conducts the operation whereby dolphins lead the way and can choose to interact or not without disruption to travelling or behavioural patterns;

    (d)utilises specific “approach patterns” to dolphins, ensuring there is no separation of the pod or disruption during feeding or resting; and

    (e)ensures dolphins are not habituated to the swimming activities.

    Motion agreed to.



    I congratulate the Total Environment Centre for undertaking their year-long project “SOS Green Spaces” which maps threatened spaces in 70 locations across Sydney with detailed information about local trees, native species, and resident action groups.

    The Baird and now Berejiklian Government is presiding over urban development on steroids.  It will cause the destruction of vital areas of remnant habitat for rare and endangered animals and plants.

    It seems obvious to point out that vegetation clearing in these areas would leads directly to animal deaths through habitat loss and consequent starvation and exposure to predation.  Clearing for development is the single most important factor in the decline of wildlife in the Sydney region.


    We are talking about a bio-region that contains endangered and vulnerable frog species, 54 vulnerable and 14 endangered bird species, 25 vulnerable and 3 endangered mammal species and 11 vulnerable and 2 endangered reptile species.  In the forests of the sandstone plateau at least seven threatened ecological communities, 32 threatened resident animals and 100 threatened plant species are at risk of obliteration through development.

    Unchecked development along coastal green spaces also endangers 15 threatened aquatic animals and 27 threatened seabirds.


    We must also remember the importance of providing resting, feeding and nesting places for migratory birds that are struggling to survive the loss of habitat as they undertake their journeys around the world.

    Once a green space is gone, it’s gone forever and animals will disappear. It is a shocking legacy for our generation to bequeath to future generations who will rightly condemn our greed and shortsightedness.



    22nd March 2016


    The Hon. MARK PEARSON: My question is directed to the Minister for Primary Industries. The sea animals theme continues. The website of the Department of Primary Industries and the code of conduct of the Master Fish Merchants Association state that the boiling of live hard shell crustaceans is an unacceptable method of killing. It has been brought to my attention that hard shell crustaceans are being boiled alive in seafood markets or other outlets which sell directly to the public as opposed to restaurants, which sell seafood for consumption. If this is so, why is this practice being allowed? Will the Minister advise members whether there has been any breach regarding the unacceptable methods of killing crustaceans at New South Wales seafood markets in the past 12 months?

    The Hon. NIALL BLAIR: There are a number of elements to that question, which was highlighting examples and specifying outlets that may be acting in breach of the code. It would be prudent for me to take the question on notice and to return with a detailed response at a later date.

    4th March 2016


    In reply tothe Hon. MARK PEARSON (22 March 2016).

    The Hon. NIALL BLAIR (Minister for Primary Industries, and Minister for Lands and Water)—The Minister for Primary Industries provided the following response:

    The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979 [POCTA] only applies to a crustacean when at a building or place (such as a restaurant) where food is prepared or offered for consumption by retail sale in the building or place.

    The Department of Primary Industries guideline on humane harvesting of fish and crustaceans is not prescribed under POCTA, but is used by POCTA enforcement agencies to inform compliance and enforcement.

    The Departments guideline does not say that boiling of live hard shell crustaceans is an unacceptable method; it recommends that all crustaceans be immersed in a salt water/ice slurry for a minimum of 20 minutes before boiling, broiling, pithing or cutting.

    The Department of Primary Industries administers POCTA but does not enforce it or have information on breaches relating to crustaceans. The enforcement agencies are RSPCA NSW, Animal Welfare League NSW and NSW Police.

    RSCPA NSW has advised the Department that it has issued a penalty infringement notice to a proprietor at the Sydney Fish Markets in the past 12 months.


    13th January 2016

    In 2015 the AJP put out a petition calling for an end to the captive breeding and keeping of dolphins. The petition requests that the Government cease the granting of permits for the breeding and exhibition of dolphins. It also calls for the release of all dolphins in captivity at Dolphin Marine Magic and that they be rehabilitated for eventual re-homing at an ocean sanctuary.

    The personal story of Bucky, a wild-born dolphin who has been incarcerated in the confines of a small pool for more than 45 years is indefensible and is a stark reminder that Australia has failed non-human animals for too long. Bucky’s story and the passion of his advocates have been the driving force behind this petition and I hope that one day Bucky will swim freely and in peace.

    I am proud to be entrusted with tabling the petition and hope the NSW Government listen to its citizens both human and animal alike.



    28th October 2015

    Questions without notice.


    The Hon. MARK PEARSON: My question without notice is directed to the Minister for Primary Industries, and Minister for Lands and Water. On 16 September in answer to my question about the welfare of dolphins at Dolphin Marine Magic, the Minister stated that the department had conducted compliance activities. Did this review include specific investigations and analysis by a cetacean expert observing the dolphins for stereotypic aberrant behaviours and abnormalities associated with inbreeding? If not, will he direct the department to conduct such a review, to be undertaken by a scientist with expertise in cetacean behaviour and make that report available to the House?

    The Hon. NIALL BLAIR: I thank the member for his question. As he alluded to in his question, I have answered questions on this matter previously. I inform the House of some details of which I am aware. I have been advised that the exhibition of animals at Dolphin Marine Magic is regulated by the Department of Primary Industries under the Exhibited Animals Protection Act 1986. An animal welfare organisation has made a formal complaint previously to the department about that facility, alleging that Dolphin Marine Magic is non-compliant with the standards for dolphin management. It also has been reported in the media.

    The incident has been investigated and the department has been working with Dolphin Marine Magic on the issue. It has informed me that after a number of independent surveys the pool used to house the six dolphins exceeds the 1,700 cubic metres required as set out in the relevant standards. I have been advised that the relevant standards have been met at Dolphin Marine Magic and the department continues to have ongoing conversations with organisations such as Dolphin Marine Magic. The Department of Primary Industries keeps in regular contact with organisations that are regulated by the Exhibited Animals Protection Act 1986. If there are any updates under that Act, I am sure that I will be advised in due course and I can then inform the House.

    The Hon. MARK PEARSON: I ask a supplementary question. Will the Minister elucidate his answer on the specifics of the question, not the volume of water per dolphin, but the aberrant stereotypic behaviours of the dolphins and also abnormalities associated with inbreeding?

    The Hon. NIALL BLAIR: In my answer I was directly referring to the standards of the Department of Primary Industries by which the facility is regulated. I am happy to take the question on notice and return with an answer.

    To date (4th February 2018) no answer has been provided.

    10th May 2016

    Questions without notice.


    The Hon. MARK PEARSON (16:47): My question is directed to the Minister for Primary Industries. In an SBS article published on 5 May Dolphin Marine Magic did not deny the assertion that the dolphin calf Ji‑Ling had swallowed debris, including metal, resulting in a stomach ulcer. It was also stated that Ji-Ling died of a heart attack when a non-veterinary staff member attempted to remove the debris by reaching their hand into Ji‑Ling’s stomach. Can the Minister confirm: first, that this is an accurate description of events; secondly, that the metal object was either a watch, coin or an item of jewellery; third, that Department of Primary Industries investigators found no breach of clause 3.4.1 of the Standards for Exhibiting Bottle-nosed Dolphins; and, fourth, that there was a veterinarian with cetacean expertise on the site at the time?

    The Hon. NIALL BLAIR (Minister for Primary Industries, and Minister for Lands and Water) (16:48): We have spoken about Dolphin Marine Magic and the unfortunate death of the dolphin Ji-Ling previously in this House. I am advised that the dolphin died at Dolphin Marine Magic on 7 October 2015. The dolphin was closely monitored by an expert veterinary professional, which I believe was part of the question. Dolphin Marine Magic has provided the results of the post-mortem examination to the department, which indicates the dolphin died due to complications from a condition for which it was receiving veterinary treatment.

    Dolphin Marine Magic has informed the department of concerns that ingestion of leaves falling into the dolphin pool may have contributed to the condition and has taken measures to eliminate this risk. That is the latest advice I have received, and it is consistent with the advice that I have provided to the House previously.

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