Target: Clearwater Marine Aquarium CEO David Yates
Goal: Demand that the Clearwater Marine Aquarium improve conditions for its wildlife
The Clearwater Marine Aquarium has been cited five times since 2010 for circumstances that have the potential to harm marine mammals. Other local aquariums, such as SeaWorld in Orlando and the Florida Aquarium in Tampa, didn’t have any violations during the same time period. It is clearly not a problem with aquariums, but with this particular one. This must not be allowed to continue.
Between September 2010 and June this year, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) cited the Clearwater aquarium for chipping paint and rust in the main dolphin pool, salinity levels in the dolphin stranding tank being too high for 58 out of 74 days, storing fresh food for the animals on rusty shelves and beneath a cooling unit fan that leaked condensation onto food, and failing to perform weekly coliform bacteria tests on pools, among other things. Not only were all of the aquarium’s citations USDA violations, they were also violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act.
The aquarium’s CEO David Yates claims that the inspectors’ reports are subjective and that conclusions shouldn’t be drawn based on “pieces of paper.” It is true that some of the violations are simply the result of an aging building, but it is hard to ignore circumstances that place the aquarium’s marine life in danger. Dr. R.O. Overton, a former USDA inspector who cited the aquarium in 2011, described the high salinity levels as a “a major issue” and the lack of consistent coliform bacteria testing as “alarming.”
Despite the millions of dollars the Clearwater Marine Aquarium has spent making improvements, many of the issues it received citations for in the past remain persistent problems, most of which could easily be remedied, signaling incompetence on behalf of the staff rather than financial or architectural issues. Please take a moment to sign the petition below and demand that these issues are addressed and the lives of these animals are protected.
Dear David Yates,
Since 2010 your aquarium has been cited five times for conditions that could potentially harm the lives of marine mammals. You continue to assert that the conditions aren’t as bad as the USDA inspectors make it out to be, and that these citations are merely the result of a growing and improving aquarium. While it is true that the conditions at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium are infinitely better than when it opened its doors in 2006, issues like high salinity levels or failure to perform regular bacteria tests are circumstances that should never continue to occur. These problems are not the result of a decaying building, but the carelessness of the staff.
Please take action immediately to ensure that these citations end and that the lives of the aquarium’s marine wildlife are no longer put in danger.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Dolpcom via Flickr