Today’s Editorial August 10: Dolphin debate begins

The great dolphin debate is about to be waged again.

Plans are well under way to put a captive dolphin facility at the Turtle Farm.

An animal import licence was issued to Dolphin Discovery (Cayman) Ltd. earlier this year for eight bottlenose dolphins.

But there are conditions that must be met before the licence is legal. It was issued by the previous United Democratic Party-led government.

The new government, which the People’s Progressive Movement oversees, is taking its time before agreeing to allow the facility or not.

It is a hotly contested issue filled with well informed argument from those who want the facility and those who oppose it.

The government and Minister of Tourism and Environment Charles Clifford are right to put off a decision on the dolphinarium.

At this stage it is essential to analyse and weight the pros and cons and arguments for and against such a project.

We’re already seeing other countries and industries backing away from the whole dolphin issue.

Costa Rica just recently adopted new regulations that prohibit humans from swimming with dolphins or whales and from keeping those animals in captivity.

That country encourages companies to take tourists on tours of the open sea to watch dolphins and whales.

At least one member of the cruise ship industry is taking a stand against captive dolphins.

Radisson Seven Seas is no longer selling tours to its guests to captive dolphin programmes.

The cruise line occasionally docks here.

The push will be on Thursday when the president of the Women Divers Hall of Fame speaks to government and the public.

She will speak about reasons to conserve the marine environment and expose what she calls the dark side of the captive dolphin entertainment industry.

Her speech to the public will be made at the University College of the Cayman Islands at 7pm.

Those who want to become better informed on the debate are urged to attend.

The talk will be from the side of those opposing the captive dolphin facility in the Cayman Islands.

Everyone, including the Government, should listen to what she has to say and then listen to the argument from those who are in favour of captive dolphin programmes.

It is important to take into account all the facets of an issue.

But the focus should be kept on the facts. It’s the only way to come up with reasonable and rational conclusions.