Water Authority grants permit for Dolphin poop

| 27/02/2009

(CNS): Despite the controversy and what local environmental activists claim will put the surrounding reefs at risk, the Water Authority has issued a variation to the marine discharge permit held by the Cayman Islands Turtle Farm to include the effluent discharge from Dolphin Discovery Cayman Ltd. In a statement issued yesterday afternoon the Water Authority said that back in October 2008 it had granted a discharge permit to the Turtle Farm with the restriction that only effluent from the turtle breeding pond and the commercial turtle tanks could be discharged into the ocean, but it said it had now added the dolphin facility.

“In the course of the last 2 months both the Turtle Farm and Dolphin Discovery provided further specific details on their operations to satisfy the conditions of the Water Authority to grant the variation of the original permit to include the discharge from the dolphin lagoon,” the authority stated.

It said the permit does includes specific conditions to monitor water quality and flows and the information obtained from this monitoring programme is essential to determine effective interventions to reduce the impact of the waste discharge on the marine environment. “The Water Authority appreciates the high level of commitment of the Turtle Farm to reduce their environmental impacts; this will result in a win-win situation, not only for the Turtle Farm and the Water Authority, but for the Cayman Islands as a whole, because our precious marine environment will improve as a result of this permit,” said Dr. Gelia Frederick-van Genderen.

The permit includes specific targets for the combined operation of the Turtle Farm, Boatswain’s Beach and Dolphin Discovery Cayman Ltd to reduce the waste discharge into the marine environment by 50%. The Turtle Farm has already worked closely with Dr. Thomas Goreau, a world renowned specialist in protection of coral reefs, and with Henning Gatz of Aquacare Environment Inc. to identify specific treatment processes to aggressively address the waste issues at the facility.

While the Turtle Farm has made significant efforts to clean the effluent it discharges in the ocean over recent months, Dolphin Discovery recently told CNS that it has no filtering systems in place and that because of the large quantity of water going through the facility and with only four dolphins, the discharge would be negligible.

At this stage, Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer of the Turtle Farm and Boatswain’s Beach Joseph Ebanks has not said if the effluent from the dolphinarium will impact the work of Dr Goreau to regenerate the reefs around the areas which have been damaged over the last four decades by the farm. However he did say that the farm was a unique world class  facility. “Our marine environment is such an essential ingredient of our Caymanian tradition that we owe it to our past, current and future generations to protect that marine environment and we are fully committed to do so.”

Local Activist Billy Adam told CNS that it was a disgrace that the dolphinarium had been allowed to operate for this long without the official permit and said this was yet anothe example of the lawlessness of government. "Three minsiters and departments have allowed these facilities to break the law without any consequence," he said.  "This lawlessness is syetematic the Dolphinarium is still functionaing without an operating licence and no one is doing anything. This is yet another example of the disregard our government , the Governor and the FCO has for the rule of law."

Adams said he was disappointed as he had expected better of the PPM government.

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Comments (4)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    The dolphins were supposed to go into quarantine for 30 days upon arrival according to the Dept of Agriculture Marine Mammals Guidelines. Photos from the papers showed them at both facilities in the main swim ponds the next day. What if there was a disease or foreign matters that was not good for our marine environment that was discharged? Why have a quarantine requirement and not enforce it? Seems to make sense for both human and marine health. See that the airport guys are waiting for their papers to be in order to import a hawk – guess dolphins have diplomatic passports! 

  2. Anonymous says:

    I am amazed that the government feelsthey can do this, when the elected officials are supposed to represent the views of the people.  Once again it seems they only remember this at election time with false promises.  There is obviously a large contingent opposed to the Dolphin facilities and I have to wonder if this has been determined to be a minority?

  3. Anonymous says:

    How come the dolphins were allowed to be imported in the first place if this variation on the discharge permit was needed but not in place? Seems like the dolphins should have stayed wherever they were andnot been allowed entry to Cayman until all permits were in place.

    This does not suggest ‘operations to the highest international standards’ as Dolphin Discovery says that they do.

  4. Anonymous says:

    The government has bent over backwards to help and support the development of the dolphin parks. This is not in the interest of the reefs and the country. Time will tell that this was a failed idea and economics will sink this endeavor.