The company behind the Weymouth Sea Life Park has launched a new international marine conservation charity.

The Sea Life Marine Conservation Trust announced its arrival in the green arena by condemning the massacre of dolphins in Taiji, Japan.

Head of Conservation Sarah Taylor appealed to zoos and aquaria who are fuelling the dolphin hunt with demand for captive animals to withdraw any association with the dolphin drive fishery.

“Dolphins are herded into a cove and after some have been removed to go to captive facilities, the rest are butchered,” she said. “Yearly quotas for these hunts run into thousands.”

The Trust has also set a £250k-plus fundraising target for this year, with support already ear-marked for an anti-whaling campaign, sponsorship of a Marine Protected Area, turtle rescue and efforts to stem shark-finning and the use of seahorses in traditional Chinese medicines.