WDC has joined local and international NGOs in condemning the proposal for a new captive dolphin facility in the Bahamas, calling on the government to end trade in live dolphins and prohibit the development of any new dolphin facilities in the country.
There are already three such facilities in the Bahamas, a signatory country to SPAW, the United Nations Environment Programme’s Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife Protocol in the Wider Caribbean Region, which prohibits the possession, taking and commercial trade in dolphins, subject to certain exemptions. WDC has been involved in SPAW from its very beginnings and continues to work with its parties and secretariat to achieve greater protection for whales and dolphins in Caribbean waters.
Since the early 2000s, a number of captive dolphin facilities have sprung up throughout the Caribbean, including in Anguilla, Antigua, the Cayman Islands, Curacao, Dominican Republic, Jamaica and Tortola, stocked with wild-caught dolphins from Cuba and Mexico and held in sea pens on the coast, often contributing to local pollution problems and presenting health problems for the animals held. They have established primarily to meet perceived demands from people, including cruise ship passengers visiting the Caribbean, wanting to swim with dolphins as part of their holiday experience. In its Sustainability Report 2010, Carnival Cruise Lines UK announced that it had elected not to operate tours which involve interactions with captive dolphins “in order to maintain its committment to the environment”. We call on cruise companies across the globe to follow Carnival UK’s progressive stance on this important issue and on the Parties to SPAW not to allow further dolphinaria to develop in the Wider Caribbean Region.
More on the proposed Bahamas facility can be found at: http://www.thebahamasweekly.com