Basingstoke, United Kingdom (PressExposure) July 03, 2008 -- A further 12 Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins have recently been captured and are waiting in sea pens to be exported to marine parks with major holiday companies doing little to stop this exploitation.
This comes nine months after the controversial exports of 28 wild caught dolphins from the Solomon Islands to Palm Atlantis in Dubai last year, and by further captures of dolphins by local fishermen who wanted to start a âdolphin businessâ.
As a charity working for the protection and welfare of dolphins worldwide, the Marine Connection has huge concerns for not only the welfare of the captured animals but, also, any further captures and exports as the number of dolphins around the Solomon Islands is unknown and any further taking of animals could have a devastating effect on local populations if the government allows captures to escalate.
Once again, these captures were authorised despite no adequate peer reviewed scientific surveys being undertaken to assess that the removal of the animals from the wild will not be detrimental to the survival of the species in these waters. This is a basic requirement of international legislation as outlined by CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora), whose aim is to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival.
Under CITES law, no captures should be allowed until a Non-Detriment Finding (NDF) has been issued by the exporting country. The Solomon Islands have issued this declaration due to methodological flaws of the study the charity is challenging the effectiveness of this NDF.
Unfortunately the cruel market for wild dolphins is fuelled by the popularity of marine parks and tour operators that promote them. Marine Connection allege that holiday giants Thomson (a branch of tour operator TUI) are promoting excursions to the Palm Atlantis resort in Dubai, the facility that purchased and imported the dolphins from the Solomons last year. Ironically, TUI are also partners of 2007 âYear of the Dolphinâ an initiative launched by the United Nations which aims to highlight the many dangers dolphins face in the wild and has been extended into 2008.
The charity has concerns over the inclusion of TUI, as one of the major threats to wild dolphins today is their direct capture and trade to supply marine parks. âCaptures are most likely not sustainable and may have significant conservation implicationsâ â these facts were acknowledged by all âYear of the Dolphinâ partners and TUI should prove its commitment by pledging to cease sales of this type of excursion.
A spokesperson for the Marine Connection, said: âTour operators such as Thomson and Virgin who promote and profit from captive dolphin facilities have a huge responsibility today - environmentally, socially and ethically. Excursions to captive dolphin facilities, artificial enclosures which confine these socially complex and predatory animals, are an inherent contradiction to this tremendous responsibility. As long as tour operators promote these facilities and people continue to visit them, wild captures will continue.â
Further information can be found at http://www.marineconnection.org