The Aegean Marine Life Sanctuary

The Creation of a Multi-Purpose Marine Rehabilitation Centre in Greece

Our Mission

Situated on the Greek island of Lipsi, in a pristine, biodiverse coastal bay, with minimal human presence, the Aegean Marine Life Sanctuary aims to provide a hospital for marine species in need. Additionally, it will be the first sanctuary in the world for dolphins rescued from captivity. The dolphins will be rehabilitated and have the opportunity to re-learn their innate behaviours in their natural environment.

The Aegean Marine Life Sanctuary aims to be the first refuge in the world which provides a solution for the long term retirement of formerly captive dolphins. It will set the standards for rehabilitation in semi-natural conditions, giving the dolphins the opportunity to re-learn their innate natural behaviours, such as hunting for live fish.

Why is a marine life sanctuary needed?

in-the-wildCurrently, there is no facility in the eastern Mediterranean that can provide medical treatment for injured marine species in semi-natural conditions. As an area with a thriving number of marine populations, strandings and injuries occur, therefore a veterinary clinic to treat and rehabilitate seals, turtles and dolphins is vital.
The need for a sanctuary has become critical in recent years, with an increasing number of dolphinarium closures as a result of public pressure due to the unacceptable treatment and living conditions of the performing dolphins. As these dolphinariums shut down, there is currently no suitable alternative housing for the captive dolphins.
For example, Finland’s only dolphinarium, Särkänniemi Adventure Park, was shut down as a result of low attendance and related financial pressures. Despite the closure, the dolphins remained in the dolphinarium for 10 months due to an absence of appropriate housing, and are now performing in dolphins shows again at the Attica Zoological Park in Greece. Activists campaign for the closure of the dolphinariums, and yet until a suitable place for the dolphins is found, the problem still exists.

Our Solution, Their Sanctuary:

The Aegean Marine Life Sanctuary offers a solution to the problem, providing an ideal place for long-term rehabilitation of formely captive dolphins. It will be located in a pristine and biodiverse coastal bay with minimal human presence, on the small island if Lipsi in the eastern Aegean Sea in Greece.

It will function to:

  • Provide medical care to stranded marine species. The veterinary clinic will be prepared to care for and rehabilitate seals, turtles, and dolphins in need.
  • House dolphins who have been rescued from dolphinariums. There are already dolphins in Europe in temporary housing, waiting to find permanent homes.
  • Simulate the dolphins’ natural habitat. The dolphins will be free to learn how to hunt and behave as they did in the wild with no need to beg or do tricks for food.
  • Be an educational facility that allows research without human interaction. At the edge of a bay on Lipsi Island in the eastern Aegean our research base sits, prepared to house the offices, simple living accommodations, and veterinary clinic.

Vroulia Bay, a beautiful and pristine water body has been prepared to house dolphins with a medical pool for recovering animals. The deep bay has natural circulation, and enough space for multiple natural enclosures if the Sanctuary needs to expand.

The Aegean Marine Life Sanctuary already has a relationship with an aquaculture farmer on a neighbouring island who will, for low cost, provide live fish for our dolphin to hunt as they would in the wild.

The Facts

  • In the Wild

  • per
  • Live up to 50-60 years
  • Swim 40-100miles a day
  • Playful animals with complex social structure
  • The saltwater forms a balance needed to keep the dolphin hydrated
  • Spend 80-90% of their time underwater
  • Consume a variety of fish and invertebrates, strategically hunting for their food
  • Receive nutrients and water from their diet
  • Echolocation is a key sensory system, relied upon as much as their sight
  • Part of a marine ecosystem, often top of the food chain
  • In Captivity

  • per
  • Rarely live more than 20 years
  • In the largest man-made dolphinarium in Europe, a dolphin can swim 0.03miles in a straight line
  • Dolphins can be housed alone or with incompatible animals, so lack social interaction
  • Chemicals used to keep the water clean cause various health issues
  • Spend 80% of their time at the surface
  • Consume a limited variety of dead fish, often used as positive reinforcement for training
  • Frozen dead fish lack water content, so receive water via a hose down their throat, ice cubes, jello and other methods
  • Echolocation rarely used, forced to listen to artificial noises
  • Artificial environment which lacks stimulation

The area of the Aegean Marine Life Sanctuary superimposed over the area where dolphins are kept in European dolphinariums.


Archipelagos team will have 24 hour staff to respond to stranding or marine species emergencies


The Aegean Marine Life Sanctuary will rescue dolphins and other marine species, from local strandings or captivity


All animals will be given treatment and care as needed. Dolphins from captivity will be taught to once again eat live fish, with as little human interaction as possible


The Aegean Marine Life Sanctuary will provide permanent refuge in a semi-natural environment, for rescued and rehabilitated dolphins that are unable to be re-released.

Help the Cause Donate Now

It is not possible for us to complete this project without your help, your contribution will help us create the only marine rehabilitation facility in the world.