By Kirsten Massebeau
In what seems a bold move SeaWorld a company already on the hot seat due to the death of Dawn Branchau, David Kirby’s recent book, “Death at SeaWorld”, and the soon to be released documentary, “Blackfish” have requested a permit to import a Pacific white-sided dolphin from Kamogawa SeaWorld in Japan. Kirara was born May 3, 2006 in captivity at Kamogawa SeaWorld. In the statement for import permit Kamogawa SeaWorld states these points about the dolphin candidates parents Spica and Hokuto:
“Sire was incidentally captured in set net located at Araisaki, Kyoto prefecture, Japan on Feb. 8, 1994 and transferred to Kinosaki Marine World on same date. He was moved to Kamogawa Sea World on Nov. 8, 1994.
Dam was incidentally captured in set net located at honjo, Kyoto prefecture, Japan on Feb. 5, 1994 and transferred to Kinosaki Marine World on same date. She was moved to Kamogawa Sea World on Nov. 8, 1994. Kinosaki Marine World is one of JAZA aquariums. Both animals were not captured by “drive fishery”.(Source)
“In spite of NGOs’ opposition, the Japan Fisheries Agency added the Pacific white-sided dolphins to the catch-quota of the drive hunt in 2007. Since then, this species has been hunted and captured alive. — 86 dolphins were hunted until the last season (from September 1, 2010 through February 28, 2011) . It seems that about 85 percent of them were captured alive and sent to aquariums”. (Source)
According to Ceta-Base’s marine mammal inventory Kamogawa SeaWorld acquired three Pacific White-Sided dolphins from the “wild” in January of 2007 named: Great, Ku, and Sky. Leon and Span two other Pacific white-sided dolphins show no acquisition data (Source) Ceta-Base also notes during Taiji drive fisheries, Season 2007/2008 & 2008/2009 21 Pacific white-sided dolphins were caught, 5 were killed & 16 live captured. (source) Many of the dolphins at Kamogawa SeaWorld are listed as wild caught. See the list here.
Elsa in their comments on the addition of Pacific White-Sided dolphins to drive fisheries cites aquariums as the source of motivation:
An internal communication sent by the Japan Cetacean Conference on Zoological Gardens and Aquariums (Senzo Uchida, Executive Secretary) on August 16, 2006 to the directors of zoos and aquariums which are members of the Cetacean Conference (see attachment) noted that Pacific white-sided dolphins are hard to obtain, and that not all aquarium directors who desire to obtain them have done so. The letter states, “Permission has not been granted to take Pacific white-sided dolphins at Taiji, and therefore drive fisheries for them are not allowed. But if the capture of Pacific white-sided dolphins becomes possible at Taiji, it will benefit aquariums with cetaceans, and fishers. (source)
There are many other obvious reasons why Kirara should not be imported to the United States. Kirara will be removed from her family and moved across the world to live with strangers who may not be happy to have a new member in their space. She would also be forced to travel in a small coffin like container for approximately 20 hours before reaching her destination SeaWorld in Texas. (Source)
Speak out for the Pacific white-sided dolphins. For United States aquariums and marine parks to do business with any aquarium associated with drive fisheries is not upholding the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Asking NOAA for a hearing on this permit is imperative. The comment and request for a hearing ends on March 6, 2013 only days away so act now! Contact NOAA and politely ask them to refuse the permit and schedule a hearing. Request that Kamogawa SeaWorld prove they have no connection to drive fisheries with any of the dolphins they display. Read through the permit application and compose your objections and comments.
Written comments on this application should be submitted to the Chief, Permits and Conservation Division, at the address listed above. Comments may also be submitted by facsimile to (301)713-0376, or by email to NMFS.Pr1Comments@noaa.gov. Please include the File No. 17754 in the subject line of the email comment.Show citation box
Those individuals requesting a public hearing should submit a written request to the Chief, Permits and Conservation Division at the address listed above. The request should set forth the specific reasons why a hearing on this application would be appropriate.
Jennifer Skidmore or Kristy Beard, (301)427-8401 from NOAA/NMFS. (source)
- Email NOAA about SeaWorld Dolphin Permit (thetaijilist.blogspot.com)
- Dolphins Crying for Help: What Marine Parks Don’t Want You To Know (championsforcetaceans.com)