STOP the illegal commercial exploitation of dolphins in Ukraine

The Black Sea Bottlenose Dolphin, a subspecies endemic to the Black and Azov Seas, is the only Ukrainian dolphin that can survive in a dolphinarium. Its population state in the wild is completely unknown. The number of the animals continues to decline; they are bycaught in fishing nets and often die in collisions with ships. Also, the changing water salinity in the Azov Sea strongly affects the dolphin population.

Keeping dolphins in dolphinariums, on the other hand, is a direct violation of the Law of Ukraine "On protection of animals from cruel treatment%u201D.

 The considerable amount of chlorine and other disinfectants in the water causes the dolphins significant skin damage and blindness. A lot of the dolphinariums, especially the new ones, are situated off the seaside (e.g. in Kyiv, Kharkiv, Donetsk), and dolphins here are kept not in the seawater, but in an artificial solution. Most of the dolphinariums constructed in the last 2 years were built illegally. Some of them have been built through illegal appropriation of land, bypassing the official approval (dolphinarium "NEMO" in Kyiv). None of the dolphinariums has complete documentation on the ownership of the dolphins, their origin, and veterinary and sanitary certificates.

%u0410 three-year-long moratorium on catching dolphins has been in action in Ukraine since 2008. According to CITES (Washington Convention), zero quota on the export of dolphins to other countries has been in force in Russia since 2003. The mammals do not breed in captivity (with isolated exceptions). Where are the animals in the dolphinariums from? 

We request:

1. To charge the Ministry of Environmental Protection of Ukraine to extend the moratorium on removing dolphins from their natural environment in the territorial waters of Ukraine.

2. To charge the Prosecutor General of Ukraine, the Ministry of Environmental Protection of Ukraine, State Customs Committee of Ukraine and State Committee for Veterinary Medicine of Ukraine to check the legality of the catch documents, purchase, maintenance and use of marine animals in all the dolphinariums of Ukraine.

3. To charge the Ministry of Environmental Protection of Ukraine to develop and adopt the regulations to ensure the proper accounting and the identification of dolphins kept in captivity by implanting microchips, tagging, etc.

4. To charge The Ministry of Environmental Protection of Ukraine to develop rules and regulations of keeping dolphins in captivity, taking into account the opinions of independent experts.

5. To prohibit mobile dolphinariums and those without seawater and/or enough living space for the animals.

6. To prohibit the importation of dolphins for non-scientific purposes. Only non-invasive research should be allowed, with the main focus on animal welfare and possible releasability of any given animal.

7. To prepare an amendment to the Law of Ukraine "On the Red Book of Ukraine" and to submit the draft to the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine to outlaw any commercial use of the species listed in the Red Book of Ukraine.

8. To impose the restrictions on the ownership of dolphins for commercial purposes in accordance with Article 6 of the Convention on the protection of wild flora and fauna and natural habitats in Europe;

9. To prohibit the sale and use of fishing nets, which are hazardous to dolphins;

10. To charge the Ministry of Environmental Protection of Ukraine to research the actual state of dolphins in the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov, to discover major threats to the populations of dolphins and how to reduce these threats.

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