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  • Stakeholders are being given additional time to submit their comments regarding the Green Paper on the Dolphin Policy for Jamaica, before the document is submitted to Cabinet for approval.
  • This was disclosed by Chief Technical Director in the Ministry of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change, Lt. Col. Oral Khan, who noted that all comments will be given “serious consideration”.
  • First introduced in 2005, the draft policy seeks to address the management of dolphins in Jamaican waters, the trading of dolphins and dolphinaria (dolphin attractions).

Stakeholders are being given additional time to submit their comments regarding the Green Paper on the Dolphin Policy for Jamaica, before the document is submitted to Cabinet for approval.

This was disclosed by Chief Technical Director in the Ministry of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change, Lt. Col. Oral Khan, who noted that all comments will be given “serious consideration”.

“We will do further consultations…we are extending the time for response, so you will have time to send in your comments,” he said, while addressing a stakeholder consultation on the draft policy, at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in New Kingston, on September 24.

This was the third in a series of stakeholder consultations on the draft document which are being staged by the Ministry in association with the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA). Prior consultations were held earlier this month in Ocho Rios and Montego Bay.

First introduced in 2005, the draft policy seeks to address the management of dolphins in Jamaican waters, the trading of dolphins and dolphinaria (dolphin attractions).

Lt. Col. Khan said the Government accepts that some stakeholders believe that Jamaica deserves a stronger policy, “so we are going to ensure that we strengthen the document. We will ensure that in the final document, there is no ambiguity about what the policy is about.”

He further informed that additional consultations will be held with fishermen to get another perspective on the document.

“We commit that when we have done our revisions, we will post the document on NEPA’s website and hopefully on the Ministry’s website as well. We will notify the public that it is there…and we will give you a brief window to give more comments on it at that time, before we take it back to Cabinet,” he said.

Pointing to the relevance of the policy at this time, Director General in the Ministry, Dr. Sharon Crooks, said it is important to regulate the industry given the fact that in the last 10 years, there has been a proliferation of dolphin attractions in the Caribbean, which now stand at 15.

She noted that Jamaica currently has three such attractions, and there have been more expressions of interest in these types of attractions. Therefore, she said, the issue of management of dolphins in Jamaican waters has to be addressed, as well the trading of the mammals.

“In addition, Jamaica’s territorial waters are rich in marine biodiversity and the Common Bottlenose Dolphin and the Pantropical Spotted Dolphin have been sighted in our waters.  These dolphin species are included in the list of protected animals in the Wild Life Protection Act (1945) through the Wild Life Protection (Amendment of Third Schedule) Regulations, 2001,” she said.

The Director General noted that the policy will also seek to establish the framework to regulate the dolphinaria. She informed that a Standards and Requirements document for these attractions has been developed and approved by the Natural Resources Conservation Authority (NRCA). This document will support the implementation of the Policy.

The Green Paper on the Policy may be accessed from public libraries, as well as the websites of the Ministry of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change: (www.mwlecc.gov.jm), and NEPA:(www.nepa.gov.jm).

All stakeholders and interested parties who attended the consultation are being invited to provide written comments to info@mwlecc.gov.jm  by October 23, 2014.

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