The anti-aquarium crowd continues to take hypocrisy to stratospheric heights.
Dr. Naomi Rose, a Marine Mammal Scientist at the partisan Animal Welfare Institute in Washington DC and part-time unsolicited media advisor, has been publicly advocating in the mainstream media for SeaWorld to retire their animals to sea pens.
Awesome Ocean recently exposed the animal activist’s plans to build their own sea pen marine park. They hope to create their own SeaWorld, charge for admission and never really plan to release the animals. Oh, and they intend to force accredited zoological facilities to give them the animals.
There’s just one very massive problem.
Naomi Rose, the icon of the anti-aquarium movement, is on record slamming the very idea of sea pens for marine mammals.
In a 2012 letter co-authored by Rose to the Coastal Zone Management Commission in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands and to the US Army Corp of Engineers, she details her opposition to a sea pen proposal and why building them can be harmful for animals and bad for the environment.
And she goes into great detail.
And it’s bad – for sea pens and the animals in them.
In Dr. Rose’s lengthy 11-page letter she breaks down her complaint into a number of categories that are a step-by-step rebuttal of every activist claim in favor of these death traps. It’s an indictment of Dr. Ingrid Visser’s claims for building their “Cetacean Sanctuary”.
Environmental Impact – Pollution and Disease
Dr. Rose lists a string of negative environmental effects a closed off lagoon (similar to the activist plan for their “sanctuary”) would cause.
- Cetaceans produce a significant amount of waste on a daily basis, which is not normally concentrated in a single location.
- Cetacean waste and decaying fish parts that these cetaceans consume during feeding can concentrate in an abnormal manner and accumulate around and through reefs.
- Organic debris, nutrients, and fecal coliform bacteria can cause abnormal levels of algae growth, which can smother and kill corals and sea grass beds.
- Biodiversity in such affected areas can decrease substantially.
- Water quality will be affected by fencing structures erected for the pens.
Dolphin Welfare and Survivorship – Illness and Death
Dr. Rose details everything that can go wrong in an open ocean sea pen and how these pens are really death traps for the animals in them.
“Lack of environmental control in sea pens and enclosures that have a direct link to the sea can often make them inadequate or poorly suited for the maintenance of cetaceans”, writes Rose.
- Water temperature can not be controlled in pens, which may force cetaceans in shallow water with excessive exposure to the sun, resulting in unnaturally and sometimes dangerously high water temperatures.
- Water quality cannot be adequately controlled in pens, even when pumps or other similar water movement devices are installed. Cetaceans can be forced to remain in stagnant, shallow water adjacent to human activity that may contain considerably higher concentrations of marine contaminants than they would encounter in the wild.
- Exposure to runoff and other marine pollution can lead to illness and death.
- Exposure to loud sounds – airborne and underwater – can stress cetaceans, who are highly acoustically sensitive. The harmful effects of anthropogenic noise on cetaceans have been documented in numerous studies and are an ongoing focus by marine mammal biologists through water and even airborne sounds can penetrate the air-water interface and be heard by captive animals. When cetaceans can’t remove themselves from prolonged, loud sounds, physiological stress and damage can result.
Educational Value – Not Possible
Ingrid Visser claimed in her presentation that their facility would be all about educating the public.
However her colleague, Naomi Rose, says it’s not possible:
“There is reason to believe that captive cetacean attractions actually miseducate the public about wildlife and the marine environment.”
Shell Game – Deception
Rose submitted this factual case against sea pens to government bodies and clearly illustrated these pens as nothing more than tortuous death traps. She wouldn’t purposefully mislead two responsible agencies, would she?
In Rose’s 2015 Tedx Talk, she advocated for people to encourage facilities like SeaWorld to “retire” their animals to sea pens.
It’s pretty clear that people will say anything when it benefits their agenda.
We will continue to support accredited zoological and federally regulated facilities like SeaWorld, the Georgia Aquarium and more who provide amazing man made environments for their animals. We will also support the world respected Dolphin Research Center who as proven that they can provide a safe, healthy and educational sea pen environment for their animals.
You can read the full letter here.