An Update on the Captive Dolphins of Discovery Bay: Legal Action Taken

Before I even start updating you on the captive dolphins of Discovery Bay, dear readers, let me remind you: Discovery Bay is not the first or only place in Jamaica where dolphins are held captive for the entertainment of humans. There is a dolphin pen at the Moon Palace Hotel in Ocho Rios (I have seen it from the water, it is very small, and exclusive for guests). There are more captive dolphins at another facility in Ocho Rios, and one in Montego Bay. So that makes four such facilities in Jamaica now. As noted before, the company was taken over by a Mexican company in 2015. Moon Palace is also a Mexican hotel chain.

An aerial view of the Puerto Seco Beach. There are reportedly four dolphins in the enclosed space to the right. (Photo: Dolphin Cove website)

The opposition to the dolphin pen in Discovery Bay continues. Ms. Erica Ann Hamilton has spearheaded the campaign against the facility at Puerto Seco Beach and announced last week that an application has been made for leave to apply for a judicial review of the permit for this facility in Discovery Bay was filed in the Supreme Court of Jamaica on Monday, April 1st, 2019. The National Environmental Planning Authority (NEPA) was served on Tuesday, April 2nd. Also served, or to be served are the National Resources Conservation Authority (NRCA), the Town and Country Planning Authority, the St. Ann Municipal Corporation and Dolphin Cove Limited.

The campaign continues to gain support. The Facebook group has 2,800 members. The online petition on (the Prime Minister’s petition site is no longer available – it was a good idea while it lasted!) has reached nearly 22,000 signatures. If you have not already done so, please sign – and please share! A GoFundMe account has been launched to help support the legal fees; you can contribute here. And villa agents are getting requests for houses which are NOT in Discovery Bay near the dolphins.

By the way, Canada is about to ban whale and dolphin captivity. What happened to Jamaica’s Dolphin Policy? (I know, I have asked this question before!)

My hero is Dr. Jane Goodall – a human of the best kind. In a 2015 interview with CNN after the airing of the film Blackfishshe pointed out that “whales and dolphins communicate with sonar-like sound waves. Keeping them confined in tanks means those sound waves bounce off of the walls and echo back, creating what she called an “acoustical hell” for the animals.” This is but one aspect of the torture they endure, all the while wearing a hat or a pair of spectacles, so humans can laugh, or towing humans around by their fins.

The stress is tremendous. These are creatures that can swim up to 100 miles in one day, in the wild, and dive hundreds of feet deep. They are imprisoned because we humans feel that animals are here for a purpose – to serve us, to amuse us, to work for us.

Thoughts grow in me like a forest, populated by many different animals. But man is domineering in his thinking, and therefore he kills the pleasure of the forest and that of the wild animals. Man is violent in his desire, and he himself becomes a darker forest and a sickened forest animal.

Yes, Carl Jung is heavy stuff. He was talking about psychology, what is happening in the mind – but literally, this is true too. These days, “Man” seems to have the opposite of the Midas Touch. Instead of gold, everything he/she touches turns into ashes. A dark forest, indeed. Where are we going? Are we to become victims of our own greed?

PS Just to clarify a couple of things: Many of the signatures on the petition are of Jamaicans – it’s not all “foreigners.” And those involved in the campaign are not foreigners either, nor are they “returning residents.” They are Jamaicans!

Holding a broken heart. (Photo: Dolphin Cove)







5 thoughts on “An Update on the Captive Dolphins of Discovery Bay: Legal Action Taken

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  2. Thanks Emma. I was told that although not yet law, that the Dolphin Policy should guide decision makers. It actually calls for a moratorium on new facilities until a “carrying capacity” study can be carried out. So Dolphin Cove’s facile statement that it “takes the place of Half Moon, now closed” is rubbish. They also say Half Moon was closed because of extensive rebuilding at the hotel – they don’t even mention guest complaints, or the poor dolphin that night after night banged his head into the concrete rim of the pool.


    1. Exactly. A friend of mine staying at Half Moon was very distressed by the dolphin’s behavior. I would like to find out how many other Caribbean countries have captive dolphins…


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