It’s that time of year again: Empty the Tanks!

May 11, 2017 by afdadmin
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By Ashley Boreckyi

The annual worldwide protest and public awareness campaign is upon us and we are calling on all dolphin advocates to show up and spread the word.

ETT protest

On May 13th peaceful gatherings and educational events will be held in over twenty countries, including Australia at Sea World on the Gold Coast and Dolphin Marine Magic in Coffs Harbour. The aim is to highlight the cruelty of keeping these sentient beings confined in captivity.

Imagine you are a whale or dolphin, forced to perform tricks for tourists and spending every day in the same, chlorinated swimming pool. This is the sad reality for many captive marine mammals all over the world. This is why Empty the Tanks is seeking to raise awareness and cause much-needed change.


The movement was started in 2013 by Rachel Carberry, who, after witnessing the horrors of the dolphin hunts in Taiji, was compelled to take the fight to the captive industry. What many people don’t realise, she explains, is that the captive industry provides a big financial incentive for the hunters, with many marine parks acquiring dolphins from the drive hunts. Often the most attractive are kept aside in small pens to be sold internationally for significant sums, like that of Orca World in the Dominican Republic, who in 2007 paid $155,000 to obtain Taiji dolphins.

DMM protest Advocate

The Empty the Tanks movement has created a worldwide and united stance with simultaneous protests and events held around the globe. The movement is not radical, nor is it calling for the release of all captive sea mammals. Its members recognise that while some marine mammals are great candidates for release in the wild, others for various reasons are not. Where this is the case, these animals should be released into sea pens so that they may at least experience as close to a natural existence as possible.

Sea Pen in Karimunjawa, Indonesia.

Sea Pen in Karimunjawa, Indonesia.

This is the solution AFD is proposing for the five dolphins currently held at Dolphin Marine Magic. These dolphins are not from Taiji, but the majority have been bred in captivity. As these dolphins have been in captivity too long, they cannot be safely released into the wild. But a sea sanctuary would provide these animals with the ability to dive deeply, live in salt water and be much more stimulated in natural surroundings. Rather than performing circus tricks and giving tourists “kisses”, they would have autonomy and freedom to choose how they spend their days.

Protesters gathered in front of Dolphin Marine Magic to send a strong message

Protesters gathered in front of Dolphin Marine Magic to send a strong message

Australia for Dolphins will be attending the ETT protest in Coffs Harbour this weekend, along with many other caring supporters of the movement. If you are one of the growing number of people who believe that all whales and dolphins have the right to be free you can join this day of action by finding an event near you:

Link up with supporters in your community and spread the word to family and friends through social media by liking and sharing Empty the Tanks posts and information.

Anyone can join the movement and everyone who does has a part in being the catalyst for change. Let’s unite and send the message: it’s time to Empty the Tanks!