Dolphins up in the air

A planned dolphin attraction originally hoped to be part of the forthcoming Boatswain’s Beach development in West Bay is still intended, pending approval from regulatory bodies.

Boatswain’s Beach, a $44.6 million development, will see Cayman Turtle Farm turned into a 24-acres site of marine entertainment including exciting features such as sharks, crocodiles and a snorkel lagoon.

Mr. Gene Thompson, who along with Dale Crighton heads up Dolphin Discovery (Cayman) Ltd., said that the dolphin project is up in the air at the moment pending approval from the requisite authorities.

He said he could not comment on various aspects of plans for the facility because they are currently pending permission.

Dolphin Discovery (Cayman) Ltd. is an independent company but has a lease agreement with Cayman Turtle Farm for the site of the old holding tanks for the Farm’s turtles, destroyed during Hurricane Michelle in 2002.

The project had been given approval by the Department of Agriculture over a year ago, in January 2004, for the importation of eight bottlenose dolphins.

If brought, the dolphins will come from Dolphin Discovery, Cancun, Mexico, according to the Department of Agriculture’s conditional Permit to Import letter.

Some of the conditions laid down by the Department of Agriculture, as reported in the Caymanian Compass a year ago, included:

All of the requirements for the health, quarantine, housing (including storm contingencies) and husbandry outlined in the ‘Conditions Governing the Importation, Housing Husbandry, and Use of Bottlenose Dolphins in the Cayman Islands,’ and agreed upon by the importers, are in place prior to the actual importation of the animals, and;

The applicant must obtain a statement from the Department of Environment that acceptable programmes for environmental quality control are proposed by the applicant, which would prevent environmental degradation and not lead to any serious or irreversible damage to the environment.

Additional documents required are official health certificates of the dolphins, issued within 10 days of arrival, signed by a licensed veterinarian experienced in marine mammal medicine. These must also be endorsed by the Government of Mexico and contain the health statements outlined in the conditions.

The letter states that also required is a presentation of a valid convention of international trade in Endangered Species of Flora and Fauna export permit, issued by the CITES Management Authority of Mexico.

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