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The Honolulu Advertiser

Updated at 2:42 p.m., Friday, November 2, 2007

Sea Life Park lays off 49 workers in seasonal move

Advertiser Staff

Sea Life Park announced that it has laid off 49 employees to adjust for a slow period leading up to the busy Christmas season.

The Makapu'u visitor attraction issued a statement saying the workers were let go Wednesday. Sea Life Park is operated by Dolphin Discovery of Cancun, Mexico.

"Sea Life Park by Dolphin Discovery (Thursday) made a seasonal adjustment laying off 49 predominantly hourly employees to compensate for the slower months leading into the Christmas high season," the park said in the statement. "The park intends to rehire staff when they return to its peak period. Prior to the adjustment, the park employed 270 staff, the highest employment in its history."

Dolphin Discovery purchased Sea Life Park in early 2005 and pledged to upgrade the visitor attraction. At that time, the park had 90 full- and part-time employees.

In an interview 10 months after the acquisition, then general manager Renato Lenzi said Dolphin Discovery had invested nearly $3 million to improve the park. Dolphin Discovery promotes itself as the operator of the largest swim-with-the-dolphins program in the world and has seven locations in Mexico, the Caribbean and Hawai'i.