In the early 2000s, every time animal advocates turned around, it seemed there was a new proposal for a dolphinarium in the Caribbean. We fought every one—some were halted; others went forward. Then everything went quiet for a few years. However, earlier this year, Dolphin Discovery, a company based in Mexico, submitted a proposal to the St. Lucia government to build a new swim-with-dolphin attraction within a national park.
AWI is working with dedicated local allies and other international animal groups to convince the powers-that-be on the island that a dolphinarium, far from being a boon to the economy, would probably harm the island’s image as a tourist destination. We have written detailed letters, armed our allies with information, and spoken out in local media, including talk radio (a prominent format in the Caribbean), to let the public, the press, and the government know that dolphinariums are becoming less popular and now is not the time to invest in a new facility.
Our initial efforts paid off, as the St. Lucia National Trust, which has considerable influence with decision-makers on proposals that will affect the environment, voted against supporting the proposal in March. The prime minister is in favor of it, however, so our work is not done. We will continue to coordinate with local activists to prevent any new expansion of the dolphinarium industry in the Caribbean.