New legislation to be introduced for orca protection

Proposed laws could have a big impact on SeaWorld

MISSION BAY - On Friday, Assembly Member Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica) will be introducing new legislation that could change the star attraction at SeaWorld.

It's called the Orca Welfare & Safety Act and it's being touted as landmark legislation calling for improvements to orca protection laws in our state.

A Team 10 source who is familiar with the legislation says they are proposed changes to the Fish and Game laws that govern orca captivity.

We're told the "New law will not allow captive breeding, moving orcas or gametes (egg/ sperm) across state lines, no using rescued animals for entertainment and some provisions for sea sanctuaries being established as well."

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But how will these proposed changes affect the Shamu show at SeaWorld?

“SeaWorld really has to think about how it evolves as a business, as a brand and where does it put its emphasis in the future,” says local marketing expert Miro Copic from San Diego State University.  He adds that Shamu is definitely part of their brand.

“SeaWorld certainly is a very diversified park.  It’s got a lot of different shows, so it doesn't rely as much as it did 10 to 15 years ago on the orcas, on Shamu, but it is a part of the SeaWorld brand.”

“In San Diego there are so many other things to do,” said San Diego resident Mike Berry, who says he does not approve of orcas being in captivity . “I don't think it would be that big of a hit economically.”

Others say orcas should not serve as entertainment.

“I ride past it every day and it kind of sickens me,” another woman near the theme park told us.  “It’s an aquatic zoo and I think it’s inhumane.”

We contacted SeaWorld San Diego about this proposed legislation and were told they are unable to comment at this time because have not yet seen or had a chance to review the proposed legislation.

We spoke with Assembly Member Bloom's office Thursday night.  We’re told not only will the proposed laws protect orcas still in captivity  but will better ensure that the handlers and trainers are kept safe.

We'll bring you updates Friday once the law is introduced in Los Angeles. 

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