Group appeals again to ban captive dolphins

The Keep Dolphins Free in the Cayman Islands campaign group is again appealing to the Cayman Islands government not to allow a captive dolphin facility become operational here.

The KDF campaign group in Cayman says, ‘We again appeal to the Cayman Islands Government to examine the facts, then make an informed decision to legislate that dolphins and whales will not be captured in Caymanian waters, will not be imported, will not be trans-shipped and will not be kept in captivity in the Cayman Islands.’

Developers of the proposed dolphinarium for Grand Cayman are very optimistic about moving forward with the project which is now pending approval from the Planning Department.

However, the KDF group, under Mr. Billy Adam, says that while the Cayman Islands Government is in the process of approving captive dolphin entertainment, other governments are taking steps to put a stop to this industry.

‘Regrettably the Cayman Islands Government continues to ignore the fact that governments around the world are finally recognizing the whole story about this corrupt and deceptive industry, the captive dolphin tourist entertainment industry, and slowly but surely they are taking the right action to put steps in place to eventually shut this industry down,’ says a press release from the KDF group.

The release points to The Solomon Islands, where it is now illegal to export dolphins from. The government gazetted into law last month the total ban on the export of live dolphins. A pod of wild-caught dolphins had been set to be illegally exported from the Solomon Islands to the Bahamas.

‘It is well known that the Bahamian Atlantis tourist resort captive dolphin entertainment facility has not been able to succeed in breeding sufficient captive dolphins to meet the requirements of their facility, so they are now looking to international wild dolphin captures to satisfy their requirements,’ said the press release.

The KDF group points out that in recent years the Bahamas developed a successful wild dolphin watching industry and also instituted into law a total ban on the capture of dolphins from Bahamian waters.

The Dolphin Discovery facility in Antigua was shut down in December 2004 and their application to re-establish the facility in mid 2005 was refused by the Antiguan Government.

Costa Rica implemented a ban in July 2005 against these types of facilities.

The Netherlands Antilles have adopted a policy of not issuing any new permits for captive dolphin facilities.

Radisson Seven Seas cruise lines stopped promoting swim with dolphin trips to their passengers in July 2005.

According to Captivity Officer at Marine Connection in London, Alan Whaley, there have been no dolphin facilities in the UK since 1992 due to public pressure, as there was worldwide condemnation in 2003 when a large capture of wild dolphins occurred.

The Marine Connection is a UK-based charity committed to working internationally for the care and protection of dolphins and whales.

He said, ‘During capture dolphins get highly stressed and the capture processes can result in many deaths. There is evidence that moving a dolphin from one facility to another generates the same amount of stress as removing a dolphin from the wild.’

Owners of Dolphin Discovery (Cayman) Ltd. Gene Thompson and Dale Crighton hope to be operational in the third or fourth quarter of next year.

Dolphin Discovery (Cayman) Ltd. has a lease agreement with Cayman Turtle Farm for the site of the old holding tanks for turtles, destroyed during Hurricane Michelle in 2002. The dolphinarium, although it will be run independently, will operate as part of new tourist attraction Boatswain’s Beach.

An animal import license has been issued to Dolphin Discovery (Cayman) Ltd. and this followed over two years due diligence by the Department of Agriculture. This license for eight bottlenose dolphins is subject to certain health requirements at the time of importation and other requirements being in place prior to the importation of the animals. This includes health, transportation, water quality test, quarantine, housing and husbandry.

The dolphins are to come from Dolphin Discovery, Cancun, Mexico.