May 12th marked the 6th annual Empty the Tanks Worldwide Day and while we are only a few months into 2018, we have a lot of progress to celebrate this year.
The Empty the Tanks movement has caught on. Organized pro-cetacean public awareness campaigns and onsite activism have led to the freeing of dolphins and the closing of dolphinariums in a variety of destinations.
For example Mexico City just announced a ban on all dolphinariums including the Dolphin Discovery at Six Flags Mexico. All captive dolphins will need to be relocated within six months. So far in 2018, dolphinariums have been closed in locations as diverse as Chile, Croatia and Costa Rica. The Vancouver Aquarium in Canada also announced that it will no longer keep dolphins and whales in captivity.
Empty the Tanks Worldwide has a mission
The website of Empty the Tanks states that this “is not a radical movement demanding the release of all captive marine mammals into the wild. Some of these animals might be great candidates for release, but those that are not should be retired into sea pens, where they can enjoy the rest of their days in natural seawater, feeling the waves of the ocean around them. They should not be worked until their last breath is taken and then thrown out like trash and replaced.”
“This is a campaign to educate the general public about what captivity means to cetaceans. These annual events will allow activists to reach the public all over the world in a positive and productive way.
The Empty the Tanks Worldwide events on May 12th were held in locations from Gran Canaria, Spain to Sarasota, Florida; to Mar del Plata, Argentina, Dublin, Ireland and Russia. Find all locations here.
What You Can Do to Help Empty the Tanks
- Avoid marine parks and aquariums that feature marine mammals in captivity. Saying this, support those aquariums that are working hard and together, to find healthy solutions to retire their captive cetacaeans to a suitable sea refuge.
- Do not patronize a Swim-with-the Dolphin tourist attraction. Some hotels and car rental companies will promote these activities to you. It is important to tell them you do not support the captivity of cetaceans for entertainment.
- Learn more; Watch award-winning films like The Cove and Blackfish.
- Read Death at Sea World (David Kirby) or Voices in the Ocean (Susan Casey) for your monthly book club.
- Like follow and share the news of those organizations that are working to stop cetacean exploitation. Use hashtag #EmptyTheTanks
- Join a local chapter of Empty the Tanks to help end cetaceans in captivity.
- Do a class project on cetaceans in captivity. Have an #EmptyTheTanks themed poster contest.
Stay tuned for Empty the Tank events slated for next year and more updates that change the conversation around marine mammals in captivity.
How You Can See Dolphins!
If you really love dolphins and want to experience them, we have some suggestions on how to do exactly that. Try viewing dolphins up close and personal from a canoe, kayak or paddleboard or immerse yourself in a “crazy cool” virtual reality dolphin experience like National Geographic’s Encounter: Ocean Odyssey in New York City. The most fun might be going to the beach and seeing dolphins while swimming, snorkeling or scuba diving, all are great ways to enjoy the dolphin experience without seeing them in captivity.
By Robert Frerck, Blue Ocean Network
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