Costa Rica bars swimming with dolphins, sharks
SAN JOSE, Costa Rica (AP) -- Costa Rican officials are prohibiting people from swimming with dolphins or whales, shutting down a growing tourism industry that has been criticized, an environmental group said Thursday.
The new regulations were published and became law July 28, but they weren't brought to the public's attention until Thursday by the environmental group PROMAR.
The group proposed the new regulations to the Costa Rican government.
Under the new rules, not even researchers will be allowed to swim with dolphins or whales and the animals won't be allowed to be held in captivity.
"The observation of dolphins and whales has grown significantly since 1998 without any legal control until now," PROMAR said in a statement, adding that about 45 companies advertise swimming with dolphins or whales in Costa Rica.