top of page

The current pro marine captivity bill is going to be another international disaster for Mexico

In 2003 Mexico caused an international scandal by ignoring pleas from international diplomats and the opinions of experts by going ahead with the largest import of dolphins the country has ever seen. In doing so Mexico broke the international treaty of CITES, Mexico signed a permit for the corporate tourist industry to import 32 dolphins from the Solomon Islands to Cancun. Only 28 dolphins arrived.

The fate of these south pacific dolphins (over 50% of which died within several years of the import) caused severe damage to Mexico’s environmental reputation with the international community. The fallout from the scandal of this controversial and internationally illegal import caused Mexico to ban the import and export of marine mammals for commercial reasons 3 years later.

Did Mexico learn its lesson?

A decade after the international import scandal another environmental scandal broke; a valued mangrove forest in Tajamar, Cancun was destroyed for the tourist industry. Once again free reign was given to the corporate tourist industry, this time to pull up and destroy some of the last of the world’s mangroves, an essential asset to the biosphere and survival of our planet. For what reasons were these mangroves destroyed? The construction of condominium developments promoted by the National Fund for Tourism Development (Fonatur).

How long is Mexico going to be seen internationally as a country that puts financial interests above environmental issues? How long is Mexico going to turn its back on progressive policies to embrace short term outdated money making schemes?

If the marine captivity bill gets passed in September it will allow hundreds more dolphins to be brought in to captivity. This is an embarrassment waiting to happen.

Awareness about the suffering caused to animals by marine parks has grown exponentially in the last decade. The truth of the horrors marine animals face inside these parks is being exposed daily and even the industry and all their vested interests can’t silence this exposure – even if though they may try.

The world is changing. Rapidly countries and states are closing marine parks or taking tangible steps to phase the industry out, this can be seen in the recent decision in France to ban marine mammal reproduction with no exceptions. Attendance to marine parks, including the ones in Mexico, is lower than ever. There is no denying it, the industry is on its way out.

The gradual undeniable death of this industry is why this Mexican pro marine captivity bill is such a terrible idea. The Mexican bill will allow every female to have another calf, state governments to capture for ‘educational reasons’ and marine parks to keep ‘rescued’ animals victims of beach stranding.

Clearly this bill is an attempt to try to save an industry which is currently coming under a lot of justifies criticism. Ceaseless amounts of scientific evidence is consistently coming to light which strongly demonstrates that marine animals are dying to entertain us.

What the Mexican senators need to realise now is that times have changed significantly since they last passed legislation effecting marine captivity 10 years ago. Awareness of marine animal suffering can not and will not be silenced. Activists are not going away. Many eyes are watching the Mexican industry and will continue to watch whether this bill passes or not.

The Mexican Pro Captivity Bill 2017 will not save the industry from continuous scrutiny, exposure from NGOs and falling attendance numbers. It will not stop people becoming aware of the horrors faced by animals in captivity. The bill will, however, be successful in causing further damage to the reputation of Mexico once again and if the senators vote for it, these particular senators will be remembered as the diplomats that voted against progress and in favour of cruelty.

There is only one piece of legislation that should be granted regarding marine captivity and that is a COMPLETE PROHIBITION on reproduction. Mexico needs to move with the times and start to take tangible steps towards phasing out marine parks and dolphinaria. The first step towards ending this outdated exploitative industry is to stop its growth. There are already over 320 captive dolphins in Mexico. They do not need any more.


bottom of page