Captivity in the EU - Latvia

Latvia is one of twelve EU Member States without dolphins in captivity.

Latvia is one of twelve EU Member States without dolphins in captivity.

Latvia sits to the west of the Baltic Sea where wild populations of cetaceans such as bottlenose dolphins and harbour porpoise can be seen all year round, although the Baltic Sea harbour porpoise population is now sadly critically endangered. The small cetaceans of the Baltic Sea are included in ASCOBANS (Agreement on the Conservation of Small Cetaceans of the Baltic, North East Atlantic, Irish and North Seas), which aims to achieve and maintain favourable conservation status for small cetaceans throughout the agreement area. Unfortunately Latvia is non-party to the agreement but it’s waters are within the area of sea that ASCOBANS covers.

Latvia is a Party to CITES (Convention on International Trade of Wild Fauna and Flora) but has recently come under scrutiny for trade in whale products from Iceland in March 2010. Any trade in whale products in the EU is a violation of the EU Habitats Directive and EU CITES Regulation and so is deemed illegal under CITES and EU law.

Latvian national zoo law includes dolphinaria, but there are no specific standards for the keeping of these animals in captivity.