January 3, 2012

Minister of Tourism, Maldives

Honorable Dr. Ibrahim Didi
Minister of Fisheries


RE: Proposed New Dolphinarium Threatens Wild Dolphin Populations and Maldive’s Reputation as a Dolphin Safe Country

Earth Island Institute encourages the Maldives government to deny plans for a new proposed dolphinarium, featuring dolphins caught in the wild.  Such a dolphinarium threatens both the health of wild dolphin populations and the Maldives’ reputation as a Dolphin Safe country.

International live dolphin traffickers are supplying dolphinariums around the world with live dolphins ripped from their families in the wild.  These traffickers care nothing for the good of the dolphins – all they care about is the huge amount of money they get for capturing wild dolphins and selling them to other countries.  Traffickers may supply the Maldives’ dolphinarium from the Solomon Islands, Russia or Taiji, Japan, or even Maldives waters, resulting in wild dolphins condemned to lives in small tanks and the depletion of wild dolphin populations.

Keeping wild dolphins in small tanks is cruel and very expensive.  These are intelligent, self-aware animals that are harmed by the sterile and confined conditions of captivity.  Many countries including the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and a variety of others have prohibitions on the capture and import of wild dolphins.

As you know, the Maldives’ tuna industry has adopted a policy to ensure that no dolphins are killed in tuna nets.  That Dolphin Safe standard is respected all over the world.  If the Maldives’ government allows live dolphins to be imported into their country, the Dolphin Safe reputation of the Maldives will be jeopardized.  Major tuna importing companies will avoid purchasing tuna from governments that harm dolphins.

The Maldives is an international destination for tourists to experience that country’s wild places and beaches.  The Maldives should not risk their dolphin protection reputation in order to benefit international traffickers.  We urge the Fisheries and other Departments of the Maldives’ government reject permits for dolphin imports and reaffirm the Maldives’ strong support for the protection of wild dolphins.

Thank you for your consideration of our concerns.




David Phillips
Executive Director


Cc Nontapong Singhalachat, 
Managing Director
MMP International Co., Ltd.