Bahamas Dolphinarium Ordered To Shut Down
A Supreme Court judge in the Bahamas has ordered a swim-with-dolphins attraction to shut down and the release of the captive dolphins
Permits have been revoked for a planned tourist attraction featuring a dolphinarium on Blackbeard’s Cay, off the coast of Nassau.
The decision comes after the local animal and environmental advocacy group reEarth filed a lawsuit against Blue Illusions Limited, saying the company had been granted permits in violation of the law.
Documents have shown that the prime minister, the minister of agriculture and others violated the Marine Mammal Protection Act when they issued a permit to build the facility.The company obtained the eight dolphins from Honduras last year, before neccessary permits had been issued. Justice Stepehen Isaacs questioned whether the import of marine mammals for any other reasons than scientific reasearch was legal.
The activist group reEarth had collected 65,000 signatures calling for the closure of the facility and the dolphins to be freed.
Further agreeing with reEarth, Justice Stephen Isaacs argued Blue Illusions Limited had tried to realise the project in secrecy, purposely ignoring the public outcry against plans to open the attraction.
Finally Justice Isaacs ordered Blue Illusions Limited to restore the area of the dolphins enclosures to its original state.
Animal welfare campaigners have celebrated the decision as a huge victory for captive dolphins and whales and see the ruling as an opportunity to start a campaign over captive marine mammals in the country.
'I am thrilled,' Sam Duncombe, president of reEarth, told The Nassau Guardian, 'We’ve been fighting this issue for 24 years and finally we’ve been able to bring one of the developers with dolphins in captivity to court over the circumvention of the Marine Mammal Protection Act'.