Unlike many other countries in the Caribbean, the dual-island nation Antigua and Barbuda has no captive dolphins. This was not the case several years ago, when a captive dolphin facility operated at Marina Bay in Antigua. It opened in 2001, run by Dolphin Fantaseas, displaying three bottlenose dolphins that had been captured in Cuban waters. In June 2004, the facility was taken over by Dolphin Discovery, a Mexican-based company that operates a number of swim-with-the-dolphins attractions in the Caribbean and further dolphins were imported from Mexico, reportedly also originating from the wild in Cuba.
When the facility was inspected in September 2004, nine dolphins were found living in deplorable conditions. The enclosure was only eight feet deep at its deepest end. The dolphins had no access to shade from the sun and many had unusually dark skin, as a result of sunburn. The facility had also caused numerous environmental problems to the local area. The natural water flow from an adjacent salt pond was restricted by the facility which intentionally obstructed the drainage when it built the facility. As a result, the pond overflowed when heavy rain set in, affecting businesses and private property in the area with contaminated water. Dolphin Discovery were repeatedly asked to move the dolphins to another location in Antigua, but these requests were ignored.
The facility finally closed later that year, with the animals moved to the Dolphin Discovery facility in Tortola in November 2004. Dolphin Discovery was denied a permit to return to Antigua & Barbuda in April 2005.
Now, another captive dolphin chain, Dolphin Cove, has expressed an interest in developing a facility in Antigua and this has been met with a flurry of opposition, including the development of a petition, calling on the government to implement legislation to ban dolphin captivity in the country. Please support this campaign as WDC is doing, and add your signature of support.