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Where When How March/April 2017 : Page 103

Issues to Consider – Captive Dolphins in Sea Pens Although better than artificial con-crete pools, sea pens used to house captive dolphins still have a number of issues. • Are they exposed to run-off from roads, parking lots and waste facilities? • Are they exposed to oil and other pollutants from heavy boat traffic and/or marinas? • Are they exposed to high levels of ambient noise (music, boat traffic, industry, etc.), which can cause stress in the animals? • Is there adequate sun protec-tion, since dolphins can be sun-burned? • Is there adequate isolation space for sick animals and to quar-antine new arrivals so as not to ex-pose indigenous animals to foreign diseases? • Is there adequate water flow to maintain healthy water quality by eliminating uneaten food and the waste generated by the dolphins in the facility? An adult dolphin pro-duces about a gallon of urine and about 3 pounds of feces each day. • Is the waste from the facility en-dangering any coral reef system from high levels of nutrients that will cause algae to overtake the reef? • Is there a safe place for the ani-mals to be held in the case of a major storm or hurricane? • Where will the animals come from and, if they are coming from another facility, how will they be re-placed in that facility? • Are there regulations in place to govern the facilities’ structure, activi-ties, operations and safety of both the public and the animals, and who will ensure compliance with these regulations? • What impact will constructing the facility have on the existing ma-rine environment? • What is the total economic benefit to be gained by the Govern-ment from such a facility, including not just the number of potential jobs created, but also the potential negative impact on tourism to the islands? Dolphins swimming free. Photo by Lawrence Wahba Visit the Turks & Caicos Islands at MARCH/APRIL 2017 • • • • • 103

Turks & Caicos Reef Fund

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