04/12/07 Ban the Dolphinaria
While the decission of Vodnjan regarding the construction of a dolphinarium is expected next week, Animal Friends demands full legal ban of dolphins in captivity in Croatia
The Nature Protection Directorate of the Ministry of Culture has given a negative opinion to Aqua Adora at its request for planned dolphinarium in Vodnjan. In Croatia, shows involving dolphins and swimming with sea mammals are prohibited by law; however, the import and captivation of dolphins, even though practically unfeasible, is not banned by any concrete legal act.
Given the fact that Croatia has signed the Agreement on the Conservation of Cetaceans of the Black Sea, Mediterranean Sea and Contiguous Atlantic Area (ACCOBAMS), the International Whaling Commission, and the Berne, Barcelona, Bonn, and CITES conventions, as well as the fact that dolphins are a protected species in Croatia, Animal Friends has contacted the Nature Protection Directorate at the Ministry of Culture, demanding that the Croatian law should unambiguously prohibit the husbandry of dolphins or any other species of sea mammals from the Cetacea family in captivity under any circumstances.
The issue is considered urgent because of the attempts of building dolphinaria in Croatia, such as the recent case of the planned construction of a dolphinarium in the Vodnjan region, on which the Nature Protection Directoratte has issued a written statement on March 27. Therefore, Animal Friends is of the opinion that a corresponding legal act, endorsed by the great majority of Croatian citizens, should be passed as soon as possible, since it would clearly define the attitude of Croatia as a dolphin-friendly country.
Croatia can be proud of its dolphin reserve near Mali Losinj, which is unique on the Mediterranean. Along with the aforementioned signing of conventions, this can be considered a valid basis and a solid argument for passing such a manifest legal prohibition, or rather regulation. It would also be in accordance with the current Animal Protection Act, Regulation on the Requirements for the Establishment and Operation of Zoological Gardens, and other legal acts and regulations.
By passing such an act and banning the construction of any dolphinaria, Croatia would deserve the reputation of a country that protects the dolphins and would be praised all over the world as a "dolphin-friendly country."
For the sake of its sea and its free, rigorously protected dolphins, Croatia should express its attitude against captivating dolphins clearly and unambiguously.
Since the United Nations have proclaimed 2007 the Year of the Dolphin and since this year’s meeting of ACCOBAMS is taking place in October in Dubrovnik, Animal Friends believes that the prohibition act should be passed as soon as possible and we hope for a prompt reply from the Ministry of Culture.