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Planned dolphin-swim facility in Bahamas faces strong opposition

Designed to attract cruise line tourists, development called "unregulated development," by opponents
  Wikimedia Commons
Dolphin in the Bahamas
New facility would increase total to four in Carribean nation
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"Whilst other countries are moving towards a more enlightened treatment of animals, legislation and regulation in The Bahamas do little more than they did 20 years ago."

—Sam Duncombe, reEarth and the Bahamas Freedom Alliance

Forty-five non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are opposing a proposed marine mammal facility at Blackbeards Cay in the Bahamas. Situated opposite the Sandals Royal Bahamian Resort, the proposed facility has been under redevelopment for over a year and planning to reopen with a new swim with captive dolphins program designed to attract cruise line tourists.

Joining forces with the Dolphin Project, Humane Society International, Cetacean Society International and Born Free Foundation, Sam Duncombe of reEarth and the Bahamas Freedom Alliance opposes what she calls, "unregulated development," at Blackbeard’s Cay, located just north of western New Providence.

The facility is allegedly acquiring its dolphins from a facility in Honduras, some of which are wild captures. "They will be housed in a sea pen which will provide no protection from hurricanes and other storms, harassment from people passing in boats and all the siltation caused by them, as well as boat engine noise, " Duncombe said. Investors behind Blackbeards Cay have consistently denied any wrongdoing.

According to Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC), the Bahamas is a signatory country to SPAW , the United Nations Environment Programme's Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife Protocol in the Wider Caribbean Region. According to the WDC,
SPAW "prohibits the possession, taking and commercial trade in dolphins, subject to certain exemptions.

The Commonwealth of the Bahamas already boasts three captive dolphin facilities in a total area of 5,358 square miles. The new facility would increase the total to four, impeding a 24-year battle to close down dolphinarium facilities in The Bahamas. "Whilst other countries are moving towards a more enlightened treatment of animals, legislation and regulation in The Bahamas do little more than they did 20 years ago," Duncombe said.

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