ST JOHN’S, Antigua – The petition by environmentalists fighting to secure an all-time ban on marine mammal captivity has surpassed the targeted support of 4,000 signatures.
Up to 7 pm yesterday, it had gained 4,200 supporters and Martha Watkins Gilkes, spokesperson of Antigua & Barbuda Independent Tourism Promotion Corporation, says she’s preparing to present the petition to government.
In the meantime, the online petition is still open to accepting more signatures.
The passing interest from Eric Bogden, operator of Dolphin Cove in Jamaica, to expand his operations to Antigua prompted the petition around mid-October this year.
The environmentalists argue that the captivity of marine mammals disrupts the dynamics of the natural hierarchy, which, in turn, upsets their natural behaviour.
The petition, addressed to Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer, reads, “We are asking your cabinet to vote into law, no captivity for marine mammals in Antigua & Barbuda.”
Another point raised is that one of the major causes of death among dolphins is suicide while about 53 per cent who survive the capture, die within three months.
One of the petitioners argues, “the Antigua & Barbuda government’s ability to monitor and manage existing animal welfare is already strained.”