By ignoring regional provisions strictly prohibiting the capture of dolphins from the Black Sea, dolphinaria as well as the governments of Ukraine and Georgia are exposed to intense critique by scientists and conservationists due to ongoing removals of wild dolphins. In the case of Georgia the situation is particularly outrageous, as it was the Georgian government that led the initiative in 2002 which resulted in the ban of trade in Black Sea bottlenose dolphins.
The Scientific Committee of ACCOBAMS condemns the continued illegal captures and calls for the development of a transparent inventory and marking system “in order to prevent substitution of dolphins that die in captivity by animals taken from the wild”.
Concerns over usage of dolphins for military purposes in the Mediterranean Sea
At the last day of the ACCOBAMS Scientific Committee Meeting various partner organizations as well as experts, among them BlueWorld and OceanCare, raised concerns over the most recent military operation by the US Navy using bottlenose dolphins searching for, detecting and locating sea mines in the waters of Montenegro. While OceanCare does oppose keeping them in captivity no matter whether it is for commercial or military purposes, focus of concern has been whether the potential risk of introducing foreign pathogens into the natural habitat has been addressed prior to the operation. The operation obviously violated many provisions adopted by the Parties of ACCOBAMS, but the government of Montenegro turned a blind eye to it and did not respond yet to a bilateral approach by the ACCOBAMS Secretariat. The expert body has raised strong concerns and urged the Parties to comply with the decisions they have themselves adopted.