Dissension over Dolphin Protection

9-year-old Mika Dennerlina spent the afternoon jet-skiing with her family and she was lucky enough to see several dolphins.
"I saw a few pods of dolphins,” said Dennerlina. “We saw them jumping out of the water and were acting so happy."
Mika knows it is illegal to feed the dolphins.
"It's good to protect the dolphins and make sure they're wild and don't feed them," she said.
Denis Richard, the owner of Water Planet, came up with the guidelines for BADTOFEED, which stands for Bay Association of Dolphin Tour Operators for Environmental Education Distinction.
It is a certification program for local tour operators.
State wildlife officials are onboard with the effort and officials at the FWC said they are going to do anything they can to educate both the vendor and the public.
But some believe any human interaction with poses a threat to dolphins.
Local tour operator, Captain Hal Lacey, subscribes to NOAA’s Dolphin SMART Program which endorses more restrictions.
NOAA was invited to participate in Wednesday’s BADTOFEED seminar, but declined.
NOAA officials sent a letter to Richard, saying they appreciate BADTOFEED’s efforts to stop dolphin feeding, but are concerned about the program continuing to promote swimming with dolphins.
Richard defended his program and said his goal is protecting the dolphins.
"And to unify this industry because there is a lot of competition and an atmosphere of rivalry," he said.
He sees his program as the first step in that direction.
people who violate the no-feeding laws can face up to $5,000 in fines for each incident.


8195 Front Beach Road Panama City Beach, FL 32407 Station: 850-234-7777 News: 850-230-5221 Fax: 850-233-6647 FCC Form 398
Copyright © 2002-2014 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 202778601 - wjhg.com/a?a=202778601
Gray Television, Inc.