One step at a time: Victory for dolphins in the Bahamas!

Due to the tenacity and perseverance of local Bahamanian grassroots organization, reEarth, a significant legal battle opposing the development of a captive dolphin facility on Blackbeard’s Cay, just northwest of Nassau, has been waged and won, marking a small victory in the larger fight for an end to whales and dolphins in captivity.

In this landmark decision, the Supreme Court judgment revoked all import permits and operating licenses for Blue Illusions, the company behind the dolphin facility, and ordered the removal of the eight dolphins currently at the facility. The dolphins were shipped to the Bahamas from Honduras in July 2013, and were being held in shallow and unprotected sea pens.  The judgment also determined that government authorities acted illegally in allowing the development to move ahead without following proper planning and permitting procedures under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. More importantly, the judgment challenged the legality of importing dolphins into the Bahamas for anything other than research under the country’s marine mammal protection legislation, forecasting longer term implications for the future of other dolphin facilities in the Bahamas.

WDC has provided support to reEarth and its ongoing campaign to oppose the Blackbeard’s Cay and other captive dolphin facilities in the Bahamas, and stemming from our broader consultation with the government during its development of its marine mammal protection legislation.

Last February, the Supreme Court of the Bahamas had granted permission to reEarth to bring judicial review proceedings challenging the permits and approvals received by the Blackbeard’s Cay project.  As a result, those government officials involved in permitting the dolphin facility were forced to make full disclosure of all permit, license, lease and approval applications submitted by the developer Blue Illusions. This ruling was significant and allowed procedural improprieties and breaches of law to be discovered and addressed, including the failure of the planning committee to hold a public hearing, a requirement under the permitting process. This earlier legal action paved the way for the recent Supreme Court decision revoking all privileges to the facility. 

Blackbeard's Cay, Balmoral Island

The Blackbeard’s Cay project has been exceptionally controversial not only because of the inhumane conditions in which the dolphins were being held, but also the documented skirting of proper permitting procedures and forecasted harm to local retailers on Nassau through the diversion of cruise passengers to the cay. Three other dolphin facilities holding at least 70 dolphins already operate within the Bahamas.

Blue Illusions may choose to appeal this decision, but for now, it has been ordered to restore the area to its original use and condition prior to its development of the dolphin sea pen. It is not clear what will happen to the eight dolphins currently at the facility, but options include returning them to their Honduran origin, moving them to another dolphin facility in the Bahamas, or identifying another scenario that might include the development of a sanctuary-type alternative.

The Caribbean is generally a battle zone for efforts to oppose new dolphin facilities, as captures continue to occur in the region primarily in Cuba, and existing swim-with programs seek to expand to other islands. Currently, local organizations and individuals are also leading the opposition against proposed facilities on St. Thomas and the Turks and Caicos, and WDC is doing our best to support them in their efforts to oppose and eliminate dolphin captivity from the region, one facility at a time.

Comments

This is amazing news!! Way to go reEarth!!

Great, let us start with a campaign against also to release the Dolphins in Lisbon Zoo - Portugal, that were imported from the USA many year ago, around 1995.

STOP the Dolphin show in captivity all over the world NOW.

WHAT I WANTED TO SAY IS:

Let us start ALSO with a campaign FOR THE release the Dolphins in Lisbon Zoo - Portugal, that were imported from the USA many year ago, around 1995.

STOP the Dolphin show in captivity all over the world NOW.

Stop this disgusting excuse for 'entertainment'! It's torture , unnatural and plain cruel!

Wonderful!!!!!!!!

This is the BEST news!!!!
Congratulations!!!! Onwards and upwards -

So great to see some positive action at a legal level.

Freedom for all Dolphins

1 down, several more to go. Let's keep up the good fight. Those dolphins are saying thank you everyone!

This is very exciting news and makes me feel that there is hope that we can empty the tanks WORLD WIDE!

Fantastic news!! Thank you for your hard work!

Brilliant news! Let's hope the dolphins are returned to the wild

Buenísimo hay que Seguir luchando por la libertad basta de sometimiento

Amazing news...

I agree that the living conditions should change but I don't agree on closing it down it's ridiculous but instead they go try worry about VAT, murderers, the poor people and other high major issues of this land. Please re evalute y'all lives.

Thinking that one issue is important doesn't downplay the severity of other issues. Obviously problems surrounding issues such as poverty in the Caribbean and, indeed, around the world should be addressed, but that does not mean that other issues, such as the plight of marine mammals in captivity, cannot also be addressed concurrently. The world is riddled with problems, and no one person can focus on all of them; different people have different passions, and so long as we're all helping to make the world a better place in one way or another, that should be just fine. :)

People have a voice and can complain about injustice and suffering, dolphins do NOT... Someone HAS to speak for them. Captivity is cruel and very harmful. Why would you oppose the closure of this proposed facility?

They only wanting to make money.Total disregard to the dolphins and local traders.

This is fantastic news! Well done. I live in Turks and Caicos and I hope that we will have similar success here against the proposed dolphinariums.

Amazing guys, great news! I only support dolphin / whale sanctuaries like the one from Firmm in morocco which is being carefully planned and studied.....this was an aberration :(

Hopefully UNEXSO on Grand Bahama Island is next. What they are doing to dolphins is so very wrong.

So exciting...everyday we see new movement in our efforts across the globe to save these beautiful highly intelligent cetaceans! I'm praying for more. I see us as a barbaric society. I pray I see the day where there are none in captivity. Orca's too. My heart hurts to see caged animals or any other in a life of slavery. This is a heartfelt story...much enjoyed!!

They have a Dolphin in the Turks and Caicos that swims free, and if your lucky you will bump into him while out on a snorkel excursion. Jojo has been the islands mascot for years. What the heck are they thinking? The Countries claim is to be "Beautiful by Nature" ....not so much if they continue with this idiotic project.

Yayyyyyy

When does the human are going to STOP with this insane projects? They are beautiful creatures swimming freely in the ocean, as same as whales. The people who capture these magnificent animals should be put behind bars. This is not fare.