SEA LIFE Brighton has hit back at criticism at how the aquariums looked after its animals after a report showed 30 per cent of them died in just one year at a centre.

The popular attraction made national headlines after it was revealed sea creatures in bases at Great Yarmouth and Scarborough have very high mortality rates.

Experts from the Marine Conservation Society expressed concerns at the centres’ management after figures were released from a Freedom of Information request made by the BBC.

It reported a total of 4,500 animals died from 2015-2016, and creatures in Great Yarmouth centre had the highest death rate at 812 out of 2,293 animals. The data included Birmingham, Blackpool, Hunstanton, London, Manchester, Scarborough and Weymouth.

Brighton did not provide their numbers but they have revealed to The Argus that 15 per cent of their animals have died in the past three years.

The centre houses around 3,500 creatures in their aquarium.

A spokesman said: “Brighton Sea Life has not revealed our numbers as we only provide figures to the local health authority.

“Sea Life places the very highest priority on the welfare of the animals at its sites, which are supported by experienced animal care teams, marine biologists and world-renowned veterinary consultants.

“Sea Life has a strong track record in animal husbandry and complies with all the laws and regulations under the Zoo Licensing Act.

“We take an active role in promoting conservation, playing a leading part in rescue and rehabilitation, breeding select species at our facilities and educating the many millions of visitors to our attractions.”

The Sea Life spokesman responded to criticism from experts who questioned how the centres looked after the animals.

He said: “You can’t apply a blanket percentage of mortality rates across all centres. It is utter nonsense.

“Death rates depends on what animals you have in the centre. If a centre has more jelly fishes who live for one year, then the percentage will be higher.

“If you have a centre that has more sharks than any other ones then the mortality rate will be lower. We have two sea turtles in our centre who are 75-years-old.

“The Brighton team is dedicated and passionate and we carry out regular checks on our animals’ health and our water quality. If we lose an animal from unnatural causes we do post-mortem checks.”