SeaWorld to End Orca Shows in San Diego

Seaworld and Blackfish - H 2014
Courtesy of Magnolia Pictures

Seaworld and Blackfish - H 2014

The critical documentary 'Blackfish' and the boycott of the park by musicians contributed to the uproar around the orca show.

SeaWorld will be phasing out its controversial orca show in San Diego by 2017, CEO Joel Manby announced on Monday.

Earlier in the day, the San Diego Union-Tribune broke the story that the aquatic theme park was considering ending the attraction following a sustained public backlash and controversy as well as declining visitor numbers stemming from 2013 documentary Blackfish which criticizes the captivity of orcas at the amusement park.

Following the popularity of the documentary, many musicians canceled performances they had scheduled at SeaWorld in protest.

According to the Union-Tribune, SeaWorld made the announcement on its website in a post that has since been removed, presumably because the announcement was intended to be made later in the day following a webcast to investors.

SeaWorld said the killer whale show will be replaced by a new "informative" orca experience in a more natural setting, with a "conservation message inspiring people to act." The new experience is expected to debut in 2017.

The company told the BBC that this decision did not effect the orca shows in Orlando and San Antonio.

Nov. 9, 11:15 p.m. Updated with official confirmation from SeaWorld.