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| Mark J. Palmer, International Marine Mammal Project
Topics: Dolphins, SeaWorld, Taiji, Japan
I walked into the Atlantis Hotel here in Nassau in the Bahamas this morning to deliver our urgent request to the International Marine Animal Trainer's Association (IMATA), which is holding their annual conference here. 
Our letter requests that IMATA renounce the captures of dolphins for captivity that help fund the dolphin slaughter in Taijji, Japan, and we further urge IMATA to take action against any of their members who engage in captures, training, buying or selling, or trading in Taiji dolphins.  Our letter is endorsed by a growing number of scientists and conservation organizations. See the updated list Here.
I was blocked from entering the conference, but gave copies of our letter to the conference staff asking that they deliver it to the leaders of IMATA and asked if they would meet with me during a break.
A representative soon came out and was very polite.  He said they had received the letter and would distribute it to the board of IMATA and mentioned that they had an existing policy online which is opposed to the dolphin slaughter (but not opposed to the live dolphin captures).  He suggested their willingness to have direct dialog, but not during the conference.
I thanked him and gave him more copies of the letter to distribute.  I agreed to follow up with IMATA for a dialog after the conference.
While IMATA was very polite to me, as I was leaving I was stopped by hotel security.  I was asked for my passport (which they made a copy of), and asked me rather inflamatory questions like "Are you in the Bahamas legally?" and "How can you come to the sovereign country of the Bahamas to come on Atlantis private property to disturb our guests?"    In any event, they held me for only a few minutes, and I was ushered off the property.  As I noted in my blog yesterday, the Atlantis Hotel has a large swim-with-captive-dolphins programs here, not exactly welcoming to people who truly care about dolphins!
It is now critical for as many people as possible to contact IMATA urging them to take action against the dolphni hunts and captivity trade in Taiji, Japan.  Their online statement against the hunts is not enough when their members are involved in paying the dolphin hunters to take captive dolphins away from their families for a life in concrete tanks and selecting the dolphins for sale to aquariums around the world.
Emails should go to:
President Linda Erb   president@imata.org
President-elect Michele Sousa   presidentelect@imata.org
Please spread the word!