My annual Discovery Bay vacation now features a foul odourFriday, January 03, 2020
I write to express my serious concern at the apparent environmental impact of the Dolphin Cove, recently opened at Puerto Seco Beach.
I have been a regular visitor to Discovery Bay for the last six years when I visit family and friends every Christmas. Each time I come to stay I spend several days at the bay, swimming off Peach/Red Cross Beach.
During my annual visit this year I was shocked to see the contrast to last and previous years. Around a year ago the Dolphin Cove attraction was stocked with captive dolphins. Prior to this, the water was crystal clear and with very little seaweed in the shallow areas. This time I noticed that the water nearest Dolphin Cove often has an unpleasant odour, it is cloudy, and much of the sea floor is covered with seaweed, even in the shallow areas.
To my knowledge, the only material change in the bay has been the introduction of Dolphin Cove. It seems that the presence of four large dolphins and their associated production of significant quantities of faeces and urine must be impacting the ecological balance of the bay. The nutrients they inevitably add to the water must surely be encouraging bacterial and plant growth.
Putting aside the entire debate about the impact of restrictive captivity on the welfare of these highly intelligent, free-swimming mammals, if a tourist visitor can perceive such a dramatic change to the water quality in only one year, what cumulative damage will be done if the dolphins are allowed to remain in the bay?
Even more importantly, how long will it take for the bay to recover and for visitors to Discovery Bay to swim in clean water once again?
Tourism is vital to Jamaica's economy. I am sure the loss of one attraction will be worth the benefits of clean seawater and the ecological balance being returned.
I understand that Discovery Bay is a designated and statutorily protected fish sanctuary with a scientifically and ecologically important coral reef. How can government bodies responsible for environmental protection risk damaging these important natural assets by allowing Dolphin Cove to continue operating?