Closed for nearly seven months following the restrictions decided in France to fight against the pandemic, Marineland reopens its doors this Friday.
On the eve of this weekend of revival and anti-captivity demonstration, Pascal Picot, the managing director of Marineland, answered exclusively to the questions of
Closed for more than six months following the restrictions decided in France to curb the Covid-19 epidemic, Marineland is preparing to welcome the public again this Friday, according to a strict health protocol.
This reopening comes at a time when a bill passed by the National Assembly at the beginning of the year could sign the imminent end of the captivity of cetaceans and that associations maintain the pressure.
The NGO One Voice has also planned a new gathering on Sunday in front of the park to demand "the closure of dolphinariums".
On the eve of this relaunch weekend and, therefore, of demonstration, Pascal Picot, general manager of Marineland, answered exclusively to the questions of
How were things organized on site during this new closure?
The park continued to function completely normally except, logically, for the public part.
We had to take care of the animals, technical maintenance, green spaces and all the installations in general.
Between 70 and 80 people remained full time.
And then the other part, which is also nearly 80 people, which is made up of reception staff, catering, accounting, shops, was obviously on short-time work.
What are the economic consequences of this new confinement?
The biggest difficulty was operating for more than 230 days with zero euros in turnover.
That was the main challenge of the winter.
How to ensure the salaries of all employees with no entry of money.
We had some minimal state aid, but above all we obtained loans from our banking partners.
Did you have to call on Parques reunidos, the Spanish group that owns the park?
We didn't need it.
We got by with our banking partners without worry.
Were there any births among your animals or unfortunately deaths during this period?
A baby sea lion was born on Monday.
We will name it in honor of an employee who tragically passed away recently.
What will be the protocol in force for this reopening?
We are starting over the same thing as last year and depending on the regulations in force.
With the obligatory wearing of the mask, the presence of hydroalcoholic gel and a sense of circulation in closed buildings.
Until June 30, we can only accommodate 65% of the maximum capacity of the park, or 14,000 visitors simultaneously.
But by reopening in mid-June, it will be quite calm anyway.
The park should start to really fill up from July 5th or 6th when there will be no more throttling.
For the first time, when you announced your reopening, you mentioned the “Marineland Zoo”, whereas your communication usually revolves around the word “park”.
Why this change?
In fact, we've always been a zoo.
We operate like a zoo.
We have a zoo approval, a zoo prefectural decree, a zoo opening decree.
We are also a member of the French association of zoological parks.
We mainly communicated on the term “marine park” but we actually decided to remind everyone that we are a zoo like any other, with the same obligations and the same duties and that we are subject to the same rules.
Is this also a way of preparing yourself to become a zoo that is perhaps more traditional, without certain animals and in particular cetaceans?
Not at all.
Zoos present different mammals.
Some, land mammals, while we are marine mammals.
But we are a zoo like any other.
A bill passed by the National Assembly at the start of the year provides that the detention and reproduction of cetaceans in captivity be prohibited, as well as their participation in shows. We can imagine that you are following this closely.
This bill has not yet been considered by the Senate at all.
And this is just a project that raises concern for the well-being of animals.
This bill says that we no longer have the right to have animals but does not say what to do with them if there is one day a possible ban on housing them in France.
It also does not explain how they should be given contraception.
So before such an imprecise law passes, I believe that a little bit of time will pass.
In the meantime, we are committed to welcoming as many visitors as possible and educating as many children as possible about the protection of marine biodiversity.
Recently, the NGO One Voice questioned the quality of the water in your ponds, where algae have appeared.
What do you have to answer him?
You just have to watch videos from last year or the year before: algae come and go. It is a natural element so, at times there is more, at times there is less and at times there is not. I invite One Voice to reread its CM2 courses on photosynthesis. The quality of the water in our basins and the filtration are managed by Veolia, the number 1 in France. The use of treatment products is managed by computer according to the temperature of the air, water, humidity, if it is sunny, if there are clouds. Sensors are there to control everything. If the One Voice experts manage to be better than those of Veolia without even taking water from the ponds, without analyzing it, but just by flying a drone illegally over our ponds,then I have nothing more to say.
Marineland denounces an "injustice" and a decision "prejudicial to the health of cetaceans" after the vote in the Assembly of the end of dolphinariums
Poor quality water in the Marineland ponds?
An NGO attacks, the park responds