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OCEAN THEME PARKS: A Look Inside China’s Growing Captive Cetacean Industry *second edition 2019 *

The CCA has published a second edition of their Ocean Theme Parks report to give a more accurate and up to date detailed view of the current situation in China’s marine parks.  At the time of publication there are 107 facilities in total (27 of these under construction) showing the industry is fast-growing due to consumer demand.

This updated report documents the changes since 2015 in the number of facilities and the number of cetaceans exhibited, and analyses significant events within the industry that have taken place since the last report. This report should be read in conjunction with the 2015 report, to obtain a full picture of the ocean theme park industry in China.  CLICK HERE FOR CHINESE VERSION

CCA Report Cover

OCEAN THEME PARKS: A Look Inside China’s Growing Captive Cetacean Industry
*first edition 2015 *

The ocean theme park industry is expanding rapidly in China. There are 64 ocean theme parks in operation and a further 34 under construction, demonstrating an increasing desire amongst the Chinese public to see captive cetaceans. This is in contrast to the situation in many other parts of the world where the popularity of keeping cetaceans in captivity is rapidly waning. The China Cetacean Alliance has prepared a REPORT describing the situation with ocean theme parks in China and the many human and environmental concerns related to the display of captive cetaceans.

CCA Brochure Cover


Imagine being forced to live your life in a small windowless room devoid of anything or anyone familiar to you. That’s what faces a dolphin or whale captured from the wild for display in a zoo or aquarium—violently taken from his or her community, and confined in a concrete tank with no hope of ever being returned to the wild or leading a natural life. Many people who love dolphins and whales (also known as cetaceans) have no idea how barren and unnatural their lives are in captivity. Dolphins in tanks may look as though they are smiling, but this is a quirk of their anatomy (dolphins “smile” even when they are dead); the reality of their lives is tragic.

Dolphin in Captivity in ChinaCCA SCIENTIFIC FACTS 

Scientific evidence as to why whales, dolphins and porpoises cannot thrive in captivity.


Several countries around the world have developed legislation prohibiting the keeping Of cetaceans in captivity. Please see our information sheet on International Legislation.

Killer Contoversy - AWI ReportKILLER CONTROVERSY: Why orcas should no longer be kept in captivity

Orcas in particular do not thrive or even survive well in captivity. The document Killer Controversy: Why Orcas Should no Longer be Kept in Captivity summarizes the available data on the many impacts orcas suffer when they are held in concrete tanks. In China, there are currently nine orcas being held in Chimelong Ocean Kingdom, all of them captured in Russia from the Sea of Okhotsk starting in 2012. Other Chinese ocean theme parks are considering orca exhibits. It is important for everyone to understand the terrible suffering these whales experience when they are torn from their families in the wild and put into concrete tanks.

A Case Against MARINE MAMMALS IN CAPTIVITY ~ by Animal Welfare Institute and World Animal Protection * 5th edition 2019 *

The Case Against Marine Mammals in Captivity was first produced in 1995 as a comprehensive resource for the public, the media, scientists, students, and policymakers to learn the various arguments against holding marine mammals for public display in zoos, aquariums, and marine theme parks. The report has 14 chapters and over 600 endnotes, offering overarching concepts and comprehensive examples on why marine mammals—a group of animals that are ecologically tied to the ocean environment—cannot thrive in confinement. No concrete tank or small sea pen can provide an animal with anything close to the complexity of the marine environment. Marine mammals, but especially the larger, wide-ranging predators such as whales, dolphins, and polar bears, simply do not belong in captivity. VIEW CHINESE REPORT HERE