CDWS statement on dolphin captivity

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CDWS statement on dolphin captivity

CDWS statement on dolphin captivity

07 October 2010

Egypt’s Chamber of Diving and Watersports (CDWS) said it applauds and supports fully the work of HEPCA in its action to relocate the four dolphins found in squalid conditions in a residential-sized swimming pool of a villa in Hurghada. CDWS chairman Hesham Gabr has been in close contact with HEPCA’s managing director Amr Ali and together they are working to change the situation in Egypt with regards to dolphins in captivity.

When conservation group Hurghada Environmental Protection Association (HEPCA) visited the site in September and reported back on the conditions the dolphins were being held, it caused outrage throughout the Red Sea community and around the world. The dolphins are believed to have been imported from Japan, where it is common practice to capture mammals for aquaria during bloody and cruel hunts.

HEPCA has already successfully lobbied for the Red Sea Governor to issue a decree banning the import of wild dolphins and CDWS has begun work towards a similar agreement within the South Sinai Governorate.

Expressing his views that the tourism industry should not be supporting this trade, particularly in a country famed for encounters with such creatures in the wild, Mr Gabr has personally written to CITES (Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species) about the rules of importation and has met with the Minister of Tourism about lobbying the government to implement strict laws for dolphinariums.

‘This situation in Hurghada has raised questions about who is responsible for allowing dolphinariums in Egypt,’ Mr Gabr said in a statement. ‘Together with HEPCA, we are in the process of looking at: how these four dolphins ended up here; what are the rules, if any, about dolphinariums; who is responsible for ensuring laws are adhered to; what can be done about this situation; and finally what can be done across Egypt. We support and appreciate the effort of HEPCA in this matter. During discussions with Amr Ali, we both agreed we need to look at the chances of succeeding in changing the law.

‘It is CDWS’s position that dolphins from the wild should not be allowed to be in captivity for entertainment. Dolphins should live in the wild, however, after speaking with the government a complete ban at this stage remains unlikely, as it is argued that dolphinariums are allowed in other countries around Europe and the rest of the world, including the USA.

‘So as a first step, HEPCA and CDWS are together lobbying the Minister of Environment to implement strict regulations with regards to the conditions in which dolphins are allowed to be held. These include space; condition of the water and regulations about the correct human resources available to look after these creatures, such as properly qualified and suitably accredited veterinarians. It is our priority to ensure the situation in Hurghada never happens again. We are requesting the freeze on new permissions for dolphinariums until these standards are in place.’

Mr Gabr added that the two bodies are currently assessing existing rules elsewhere, such as the extremely high level of standards in place in Brazil.

HEPCA has started an online petition calling for the government to put an end to dolphin captivity in Egypt. The petition can be signed at: