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July 2016    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 42, No. 7   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Dolphins in Grand Turk Home Swimming Pools?

from the July, 2016 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

At a time when Sea World has discontinued its orcabreeding program and aquariums around the world are removing cetacean exhibits and building natural marine sanctuaries instead, the government of the Turks and Caicos Islands is strangely out of step with world opinion.

A proposal to build a dolphinarium on Grand Turk has been met with horror by the Turks and Caicos Reef Fund, an all-volunteer organization that provides funding for reef education, research and conservation programs. A review of the Dolphin Cove Environmental Impact Assessment revealed that, driven by commercial considerations only, it used unqualified 'experts,' nor was adequate consideration given to the well-being of the captive animals. (Their marine mammal 'expert' only has a high school degree and no formal science training.)

For example, they propose to use local swimming pools to house the dolphins in the event of an emergency -- not only is it impractical and stupid, but it is also illegal under TCI's Marine Mammal Regulations. Furthermore, no provisions are made for pools to isolate sick, injured or pregnant dolphins, a requirement of local regulations and international standards. The authors of the Environmental Impact Assessment have only money in mind.

While TCI has been at the forefront in releasing captive dolphins back into the wild in the past, and in Providenciales, Jojo, the only entirely wild dolphin to be subject to study, has raised public awareness, it seems foolish to discard that good work and might well have a negative financial impact if the public stays away from TCI in protest.

It appears that Carnival Cruises is the main driver to push for dolphinarium and indicates that the Carnival Corporation cares little when it comes to environmental issues. If you care about this you can sign a petition here:

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