Not everyone excited about future Mississippi Aquarium in Gulfport

Not everyone excited about future Mississippi Aquarium in Gulfport
Protesters say they don't know what direction the aquarium is headed. (Image Source: WLOX News)
Protesters say they don't know what direction the aquarium is headed. (Image Source: WLOX News)

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX)

It's expected to draw tourism and economic growth, but not everyone is pleased with the idea of an aquarium being built in Gulfport.

On Saturday, protesters gathered outside the future home of the Mississippi Aquarium for Empty the Tank Day, a worldwide day of protest against marine captivity.

Protesters believe aquariums are not necessary, and never will be.

"I'll never be in agreement with housing the marine mammals in captivity; ever," said Kelly McNab-Williams.

Interestingly enough, Mcnab-Williams used to work as a trainer with dolphins at Marine Life. It was Gulfport's aquarium before Katrina washed it away. 

"I don't want to see it happen again, it's a black eye for Mississippi. Other people are emptying their tanks across the world and we're building them, which seems crazy to me," said McNab-Williams.

Williams, along with the other protesters, say studies prove animals held in captivity live far unhealthier lives than those in their native habitats.

"They fight, they die young, they die from stress related diseases. It just needs to end. We know better, we do better," said Ashley Goodson.

The $65 million aquarium project is expected to employe around 100 people, and have a huge economic impact on the Coast. However, those numbers mean nothing to the people who believe captivity kills.

"I'm not sure exactly where the aquarium is going to go with this. If they're going to be rescuing, or if they're going to offer swim with the dolphins, dolphin painting, then that's clearly a money making entertainment venture. We don't agree with that and it needs to come to an end," said Goodson.

The aquarium is slated to open in early 2019.

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