The activists claim that the policy should also be applied to the existing aquariums, which currently raise 27 dolphins nationwide.
"Although the new policy marks a positive change, the government still lacks plans for dolphins that are already in aquariums," a group of animal activists said in a statement, demanding that they should be freed as well.
However, officials from aquariums said that releasing dolphins into the wild may pose a bigger threat to their safety.
"We can still find ways to protect them at aquariums while making efforts to improve their welfare," an official from an aquarium in Geoje, South Gyeongsang Province, said.
The oceans ministry is currently making efforts to find ways to improve the well-being of captive dolphins, although no detailed guidelines have been provided so far.
Currently, South Korea has 23 aquariums nationwide, including eight public establishments. (Yonhap)