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Wednesday, 16 October 1985
Page: 1314

Senator ZAKHAROV —Is the Minister representing the Minister for Arts, Heritage and Environment aware of widespread opposition towards the setting up of a commercially operated dolphinarium in Victoria? What action can the Federal Government take, through import regulations or other means, to prevent the commercial exploitation in captivity of these intelligent mammals?

Senator RYAN —As honourable senators will be aware, the Australian Government has a proud record in the international arena when it comes to the question of protecting cetaceans, including dolphins. At the most recent meeting of the International Whaling Commission held in the United Kingdom the Australian delegation, which was led by Professor Derek Ovington of the Australian National Parks and Wildlife Service, continued to push for a total ban on commercial whaling.

As regards Senator Zakharov's more specific question with regard to a commercially operated dolphinarium in Victoria, honourable senators may not be aware that in October 1984 the Minister for Arts, Heritage and Environment, Mr Cohen, decided not to grant a permit under the Whale Protection Act for the capture in Commonwealth waters of live cetaceans which were intended for display at the Victorian dolphinarium. As regards the possible extension of legislative measures to protect cetaceans, the Government is awaiting the recommendations of the Senate Select Committee on Animal Welfare which has examined the question of cetacean capture and display.