Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Dolphins receive protection from the Jamaican Government

The Jamaican Government is looking at wild dolphin watching as an alternative to keeping dolphins in aquariums

Dolphin populations might be seeing better days ahead in Jamaica as the Government aims to implement new regulations on the use of the animals for tourism purposes, addressing the trading of dolphins and their use for attractions.

The Government has recommended a suspension of approvals for new dolphin aquariums until a full market ecosystems survey is carried out. The proposed policy would require surveys to be undertaken before any future approvals can be granted for dolphin aquariums, and would require at least two local vets be trained in order to monitor the dolphin facilities.

Under the new policy, importers and exporters of dolphins will also be facing stricter requirements, and any dolphins that are used for breeding programmes must be acquired from sources that have conducted proper population surveys. 

According to the Environment and Climate Change Ministry, the policy is based on precautionary approach due to lack of data on dolphin populations. If the policy goes through, the decision on the further development of dolphin attractions must be based on research and scientific data.

In the meantime, the Government has said it will work on developing a management plan that will explore the possibility of dolphin watching as an alternative to putting the animals in aquariums. It is believed that the policy will strengthen Jamaica’s local preservation laws and bring the country in line with international regulations.

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