Argumentos en contra de la captura de delfines en aguas panameñas (inglés)

Arguments against the capture of dolphins in Panamanian Territory

Scientific

* Bottlenose dolphins are listed under Annex II of the SPAW (Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife) Protocol to which
Panama is a signatory, and Article 11 of this prohibits the capture of this species from the wild.

* Any proposed capture may also be in violation of CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) law, as under CITES regulations, before any permit to allow captures from the wild can be considered, it must be proven that a population and impact assessment of the wild population have been undertaken to ascertain the impact that any capture may have on wild stocks.

* It is illegal (under the U.S. Marine Mammal Protection Act) for any
U.S. Citizen or business (OEP is run by an American) to take wild dolphins in any ocean on the planet. The trick is that these U.S. citizens can not be prosecuted until they arrive on
U.S. soil with a dolphin. That’s why such companies as Ocean Embassy are working to secure relationships and business with countries outside the
U.S.

* Studies undertaken elsewhere in the
Caribbean region indicate that bottlenose dolphin populations are smaller in number than in other areas of the world
. Whilst the animals do occasionally congregate in large pods, the majority of the time they are in small groups of 3-8 animals, therefore a capture of 80 animals would have disastrous consequences on the population.

* It has been proven that wild dolphin populations cannot withstand more than a 5% loss per year and natural losses through death alone can reach this height, therefore removing a further 80 dolphins would greatly compromise the structure of this population and endanger its’ survival for the future.

* Respected marine mammal experts from around the world see no “scientific” benefit in removing dolphins from the wild, preferring to study them in their natural environment. Dolphins in captivity behave differently to their wild counterparts, therefore studies undertaken with captive animals do not give accurate information on the conservation and protection of the species in the wild, for this reason we feel that the request for a permit for scientific reasons is unnecessary.

* A fundamental point to note is that during capture operations it is not only captured animals which must be taken into consideration, but also any animals not removed which may die afterwards in the wild as a result of stress and injury or dependent calves whose mothers are captured that will die due to lack of food source and protection.

* Dolphins are apex predators and as such are living barometers of environmental health. With bona-fide research initiatives, wild dolphin stocks serve as a very cost effective resource management tool. Preserving one’s regional environment translates to better economics and quality of life for the regions inhabitants. Removing dolphins from the environment upsets the delicate balance of life in the marine environment.

* Dolphins live in very tight knit social groups and depend on one another for survival. Taking even a few dolphins from the wild has long-term adverse effects on the population dynamics and social structure. Most dolphins taken from the wild are young females approximately 2 years of age… seeing the mother chase after the collections boat, while exchanging high pitch cries between the her and her calf… until she can swim no more, is beyond heart wrenching. It is simply cruel and inhumane.

* Catching dolphins in nets and separating the social group is a very violent process and the animals which within the pod (whether caught or not) which is being targeted will be subject to stress and injury. There can be no excuse to catch dolphins from the oceans.

* Dolphins swim up to 40-100 miles each day and are free ranging creatures who live in very tight knit social groups.. To put them in a pool and to say that we are improving our lives by education people about dolphins is inherently hypocritical. Collecting dolphins teaches people that it is OK to disrupt nature and teaches children to accept that the abuse of animals in captivity is OK.

* When dolphins are kept in a restricted area such as a sea pen, the tremendous amount of waste these animals cause will simply fall to the sea bed due to a lack of ocean current obstructed by the barriers of the sea pen. This waste will cause major damage to the sea bed and marine life present such as coral. (I will attempt to find out more specifically the damage this can do)

Moral

* Catching dolphins is becoming an increasingly unpopular (worldwide) activity that faces worldwide condemnation, tourist boycotts and so on. Mexico, Solomon Islands, the
U.S. and many others have made this an illegal activity. The main reason people are in Panama looking to collect dolphins under the guise of population and or health assessments is because they have to hide what they are really doing behind behind the reality and brutality of what other countries have put a stop to.

* The primary driver for catching 80 dolphins in Panamanian waters is to supply the «swim-with» program industry that began more than a decade ago and to get rich in the process. It is a very lucrative trade. Taking 80 dolphins – or harassing 80 dolphins for scientific purpose – is obscene and will not stand the test of time, is not in the best interest of environmental sustainability, regional responsibility and is just plain wrong, as well as unnecessary.

Alternatives for
Panama

* Dolphin and whale watching in the wild is one of the fastest growing tourist attractions in the world. Tourists are becoming much more reactive to poor environmental records and increasingly prefer to travel to areas which have environmentally friendly, sustainable and ethical roots. In addition, whale and dolphin watching excursions help teach people to respect the dolphins and regional resources.
Panama is in a great position to develop its ethical whale and dolphin watching industry but this would be dramatically compromised if OEP’s Permit is authorised. It has been proposed that the potential earning from a regional dolphin and whale watching industry of is approximately US$24 million annually.

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