“I'd like to thank Governor Maitri Inthusut and everyone here today (August 7) for watching this important film and discussing the issues of dolphins in captivity. Your support for our efforts means a lot to me and our whole team at Dolphin Project,” the statement continues.
“The Nemo Dolphinarium is an unfortunate development which will likely cause suffering for any captive dolphins it holds. The social media campaign against this facility has already proven effective – the important thing now is to keep the pressure on so that no dolphins get imported for the shows.
“We need you to speak up – tell your family, friends and community about the awful abuse that goes on in Taiji and in captivity facilities around the world. Get on social media, hold screenings of The Cove on your own, and get the word out that abusing cetaceans should be a thing of the past.
“Governor [Maitree] Inthusut has already shown support for important marine conservation issues such as opposing the horrible shark-finning practices, by attending the FinFree Phuket event and urging the whole island to become FinFree. I personally want to publicly thank him for this.
“The Earth Island Institute is proud to have a partnership of 25 years with the Thai Tuna Industry for truly Dolphin Safe tuna. They join EII in calling on the Department of Fisheries in Thailand to deny the import permit request for the Nemo dolphinarium and demanding an end to the trade in live dolphins.
“Wouldn't it be great if Phuket could stop all [not start any] dolphin captivity on the island, and become that much safer for dolphins?
“As I said at the end of my first book: Behind the Dolphin Smile, " In a world where so much that so much that is wild and free has already been lost to us, we must leave these beautiful mammals free to swim as they will and must. They do us no harm and wish us none, and we should let them alone."
“Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for your support on behalf of dolphins and whales,” the statement concludes.
The dolphinarium is set to open this year. Last month, the director of the Thai company behind the project, Nemo Phuket Ltd, told The Phuket News that the main purpose of the new attraction was for education and therapy for autistic children – the show only secondary.
The Cove is a 2009 documentary film that analyzes and questions dolphin hunting practices in Japan, and aims to raise awareness about the plight of one of earth's most intelligent species.
Two free screenings of the film will take place tomorrow (August 7): The first will show at 2pm at the Prince of Songkhla University Phuket Campus, at building 7, level five.
The second show is scheduled for 5pm in the area in front of Starbucks at Central Festival.