For Immediate Release

November 3, 2011



Richard O’Barry
1(786) 973-8618
Mark Berman
(510) 859-9146


Maldives WARNED!

Don’t Traffic in Live Dolphins

Proposed New Dolphinarium

Threaten Wild Dolphin Populations and

Maldive’s Reputation as a Dolphin Safe Country

Environmentalists have warned the Maldives government that a new proposed dolphinarium, featuring dolphins caught in the wild, 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,” stated Richard O’Barry, Director of Earth Island Institute’s Dolphin Project.  “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.”

A live dolphin can be sold for as much as $300,000 or more.  Dolphins are sought for oceanariums and for “swim with dolphins” tourist attractions.

“The Maldives’ tuna industry has adopted a policy to ensure that no dolphins are ever killed in tuna nets,” notes Mark Berman, Associate Director of Earth Island Institute’s Dolphin Safe program.  “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 nations will not buy tuna from governments that harm dolphins.”

“The Maldives is an international destination for tourists to experience that country’s wild places and beaches,” added O’Barry.  “There is no reason why the Maldives needs to take on this headache of importing a few live dolphins for the benefit of international traffickers.  We hope 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.”


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Earth Island Institute works to protect the cultural and biological diversity of the Earth.  The International Marine Mammal Project is focused on dolphins and whales and their ocean habitats.  For more information, go to: