Letters to the Editor

Discovery Bay predicament

Monday, December 03, 2018

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Dear Editor,

For 35 years I have owned one of the smallest houses on Fortlands Road, on the east shore of Discovery Bay, and I, family and friends have had wonderful times there.

Many of my neighbours and I were shocked to discover, about three weeks ago, that a captive dolphin facility had been approved for the bay. I don't know why we didn't know; I, myself, was away for three months when the community demonstrations took place in May and the sign is not very prominent.

This absolutely cannot be allowed to proceed. It seems unbelievable that the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) would not have required an environmental impact assessment (EIA) for a sanctuary and for something that affects us all so profoundly. That would have meant a public meeting and consultation with all stakeholders, who are, by the way, united in opposition.

Discovery Bay was declared a legal marine park and sanctuary in 2009. Since then, fish stocks have returned and the fishermen's catch just outside the bay has greatly improved. This latest move will ruin all that.

Marine biologists have told me that the extra nutrients in the already stressed bay will grow algae; when that grows on sea grass and coral it kills it. Then fish leave. Effectively, the bay dies.

By the time water samples show increased nutrients it is almost too late and, I am told, very difficult to reverse. And no water samples were taken for later comparison. Why? Because an EIA was not done. The operators had benthic sampling done to test for suitability for the dolphins, that is all. No current studies were done to see if the water circulation in this very enclosed bay was adequate to remove the dolphin waste. So very likely we shall all be swimming in it.

The community's objections were ignored. Why? Because they had no legal standing. Why? Because an EIA was not required. If it had been called all these protests would have happened then. The only advice sought from the marine laboratory was completely negative. And was ignored.

In reading up on this subject I discovered that dozens of countries around the world are banning these barbaric facilities which imprison an animal twice as evolved as we are and with larger brains — or second to us in terms of brain/weight ratio.

I cannot believe that my caring country, which banned plastics, and saved Cockpit Country and the Goat Islands, should not recognise the need for preserving our coastline, or at least parts of its unique character and beauty, for the next generation.

Erica Hamilton

St Ann

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