ONHS: Pro-Dolphinarium Arguments Do Not Hold Up

Our sister charity GONHS has issued a press release both responding to Europa Point Marine Village Limited's (EPMVL) latest arguments in favour of a dolphinarium and to the company's claims as to the integrity of both GONHS and the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society.

In a letter published in several Gibraltar newspapers last week, Europa Point Marine Village (EPMV) Ltd. make an attempt to reply to both to our friends in the well respected Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society (WDCS) and to ourselves. WDCS may wish to publish its own response, so we will deal purely with points that refer to us.

Let us first point out that we have no quarrel with the majority of the facilities EPMV claim to want to set up in Gibraltar, provided these are properly done with the right aims and protocols following extensive local consultation. However, those activities that rely on captive dolphins are unacceptable. Furthermore, as we have already pointed out, there is no need here for a rescue and rehabilitation centre for stranded animals given the very small number that occur in Gibraltar.
EMPV accuses GONHS of ‘presumptuous nonsense ... without any foundation whatsoever’, when we suggest that their facility in Gibraltar would create increased demand for captive dolphins worldwide. Yet they do not offer any evidence whatsoever that we are wrong.

Indeed EPMV constantly fail to address our points, merely repeating weak arguments that we have already refuted with overwhelming scientific evidence. For example, by stating that dolphins live longer in captivity when we have listed extensive scientific work that says they do not. And again, the suggestion that animals are BETTER OFF in captivity to avoid the ‘dangers’ of the wild is ludicrous. It shows EPMV’s lack of knowledge of the way that natural systems work and of the main principles of nature conservation. Let us then take every wild thing into captivity, and live our own lives out in prison in safety from the world around us.

We have made our comments time and again and yet they continue to ignore them. Instead they insult us by trying, with ill-founded sentimental arguments, to appeal to what they must think are the ignorant minds of the Gibraltarian public.

Now they go further with the old trick of promising hundreds of imminent jobs. EPMV is of course free to solicit CVs from prospective employees, but this is premature and presumptuous, when the company has not obtained permission for the proposed dolphinarium, and indeed, Government has even stated that it is not considering the proposal. It is also mischievous. It may give false hopes to unemployed persons who apply in good faith. Moreover, it is likely to be yet another example of EPMV’s scheming as it will no doubt try and use any applications that it gets to put pressure on the planning authorities in favour of their proposals. This would be a despicable abuse of the aspirations of job seekers.

EPMV does not seem to be aware that we have decades of experience and a wide range of qualifications in the fields of ecology and nature conservation and that we are not the amateurs they may have expected to find in our small community. The developers are clearly trying to pull the wool over the eyes of many in Gibraltar, and Gibraltar must show that we have matured beyond those other jurisdictions where similar organisations set up their outdated and degrading acts.