Urge Congress And National Marine Fisheries Service To Help Marine Mammals In Captivity

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Originally Posted: 5 Jun 2010

Urge Congress And National Marine Fisheries Service To Help Marine Mammals In Captivity

FROM In Defense of Animals (IDA)

June 10 is the deadline for public comments to the National Marine Fisheries Service regarding revisions of the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) regulations. Please take part in this historic opportunity to help end the suffering of marine mammals in captivity.


Sign an online petition

And/Or make direct contact:

How to find and contact your U.S. Representative

P. Michael Payne
Chief, Permits Division
NOAA Fisheries Service
Partnerships & Communications
1315 East West Highway
Silver Spring, MD 20910


he public comment period is timely considering the recent death of a trainer at SeaWorld Orlando and the Academy Award victory for The Cove, a documentary exposing dolphin massacres and the connection with captive public displays.

NMFS must create and enforce stricter regulations and oversight of facilities to protect marine mammals held for public display. Killer whales (Orcas) and other cetaceans (dolphins, whales, porpoises) should not be held in captivity unless they are sick or injured and need rehabilitation before their release back to the wild. For those animals unable to survive without human intervention, they should be kept in coastal, spacious natural water sea-pens, preferably in the region of the world they were found.

It is wrong for ‘abusement’ parks such as SeaWorld, the Miami Seaquarium, Six Flags Discovery Kingdom and other commercial aquaria to confine highly intelligent, complex marine species in tiny, concrete, barren, shallow chlorinated swimming pools for life, under the guise of “education.” In permit applications, to comply with federal law, the parks deceptively emphasize “conservation” and “education” in order to receive a permit. With no federal oversight for these “education” programs, they have been regulating themselves for the past 16 years. Selling entertainment, souvenirs and snacks are their primary goals.

Marine mammals suffer terribly in captivity and usually die decades before their wild counterparts. Cetaceans and pinnipeds (seals, sea lions and walrus) should not be forced to perform demeaning, circus-style tricks for food, screaming crowds and blaring music.

Captive dolphins frequently go blind, routinely endure ulcers, and suffer from skin problems caused by heavily chlorinated water. They can die from severe psychological stress, diseases exacerbated by stress, and self-inflicted injuries or those caused by accidents or confrontations with other confined animals. They are gentle creatures who use echolocation to communicate and source food. But in captivity their sound waves now bounce off the concrete walls. It is enough to drive such gentle animals insane. Hugo, a killer whale (Orca) captured from the wild and held at the Miami Seaquarium, died of a brain aneurism after repeatedly ramming his head into the windows and walls of his extremely small tank.

We urge the U.S. Congress to elevate our conservation education standards by phasing out these ‘abusement’ marine parks like the United Kingdom, which no longer has marine parks. Until then, NMFS must create stricter regulations and oversight for facilities with public display permits and prohibit any further captive breeding or captures of marine mammals from the wild.

Thank you for everything you do for animals!