Open letter: STOP Atlantis putting sharks in a nightclub

Jan 14, 2016 by afdadmin
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Imagine spending the rest of your life trapped in a tiny glass cage, surrounded by flashing lights and loud music. Sadly, this living hell is about to become a reality for two highly-sensitive hammerhead sharks.

Please, help save sharks from a lifetime of torture. Click here to sign the petition:

And go Atlantis Lounge Bar‘s Facebook page to tell them a nightclub is no place for a sensitive shark:

Open letter: STOP Atlantis putting sharks in a nightclub

Mr. Nathan Buttigieg, owner Atlantis Lounge Bar

E: [email protected]

Dear Mr. Buttigieg,

Re: Atlantis Lounge nightclub’s plans to acquire hammerhead sharks

I am writing from a not for profit organisation called Australia for Dolphins (‘AFD’). AFD is a cetacean welfare group, working to protect marine life from cruelty around the world

It has come to our attention that your bar, the Atlantis Lounge nightclub on Waymouth Street, plans to capture two hammerhead sharks from the wild for display in a 3 x 3.6 metre tank. We urge you to consider the welfare of these highly sensitive sharks, and cancel plans to acquire and exhibit them immediately.


While it is illegal to take dolphins from the wild in Australia, hammerhead sharks do not enjoy the same protection. This is incredibly concerning, when research suggests sharks suffer from stress, behavioural abnormalities, and high mortality rates in captivity.

Just this week a 3.5 metre great white shark taken from the wild died in Okinawa Aquarium[2] in Japan, after only three days in a captive environment. Similarly, studies on whale sharks have shown this species survives an average of 502 days in captivity – a far cry from their potential 100-year life span.

Hammerhead sharks are migratory animals that travel vast distances in the wild. When confined to small, captive environments, they have been recorded[3] exhibiting stress, disorientation, hyperactivity, aggressive behaviour, and impaired swimming patterns.

As a species, sharks are also incredibly responsive to light, sound, and vibration. Therefore it is unthinkably cruel to keep these highly sensitive animals in a nightclub environment such as the Atlantis Lounge with loud music and flashing lights.

Captive sharks are also susceptible[4] to parasitic, bacterial and fungal infections, and have high reported instances of skin problems.[5] According to studies conducted by the Fox Shark Research Foundation[6] in South Australia, sharks are ultra sensitive[7] to even minor imperfections in their tank environments. Tiny flaws such as chipped paint or algae covered glass can result in them becoming disoriented and self-inflicting damage by bashing into their enclosure walls.


Hammerhead sharks are particularly unsuited for captivity due to their distinctive ‘cephalofoil’ shape. They are “often observed damaging their head and eyes by impacting the physical boundaries of the transport vessel or the holding facility” (Young, Kajiura, Visser, Correia, & Smith, 2002).

Last year Australia for Dolphins praised Adelaide in the media for its protection of wild dolphins in the Port Adelaide dolphin sanctuary, as seen on Today Tonight.[8] The current proposal to keep hammerhead sharks in the Atlantis Lounge nightclub is completely at odds with the city’s strong marine conservation credentials.

There is increasing public opposition to the proposed shark tanks. Over the last few weeks more than 89,000 people have signed online petitions in an effort to stop the acquisition, and the number of signatures is growing daily. With public protests in the works and mounting negative media, this issue has the potential to damage Adelaide’s reputation for marine protection and seriously harm the success of Atlantis Lounge Bar.

Therefore, it is in your best interests to cancel the display of wild hammerhead sharks immediately.

Thank you in advance for considering our request and please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any queries.

Yours sincerely,

Digital signature - Sarah Lucas




Sarah Lucas.

CEO, Australia for Dolphins