In November this year the dolphin welfare and marine conservation group Australia for Dolphins uncovered these breaches. Their enquiries led to heavy media coverage, and brought the infringements into the public sphere.
Responding to the resulting public and media pressure, and an online petition of more than 11,000 signatures, the Department of Primary Industries has agreed to conduct a formal investigation into Dolphin Marine Magic.
While this is a positive development, recent evidence has come to light that calls the department's objectivity into question.
Coffs Harbour's local member, Andrew Fraser, told parliament in August that the NSW Minister for Primary Industries, Katrina Hodgkinson MP, visited Dolphin Marine Magic in September 2013 with her family and went swimming with the dolphins. If the minister did indeed swim with the dolphins, it would appear she violated her own department's regulations.
Not only that, but the visit took place less than a year before the minister granted the park a new licence, which included a "variation" on the number of dolphins allowed to be kept in one pool, in recognition of the fact that the park did not meet already outdated legislation.