A sea star on coral 311.
(photo credit: Prof. Zvy Dubinsky)
The Eilat Magistrate’s Court charged the administrators of the city’s “Dolphin
Reef” with a fine of NIS 100,000 on Sunday for harming the coral in the Red Sea
bay by crushing the organisms with rocks and dirt.
established in 1990, is a popular site where families come to swim with
dolphins. The damage to the area’s coral reefs began about five years ago, when
workers upgrading the facility dumped rocks and dirt from their work with a
tractor into the sea, which in turn smashed the reefs, according to the Israel
Nature and Parks Authority.
Slamming the company for destroying protected
elements of nature, the court fined both owner Roni Zilber and his facility NIS
50,000. In addition to these fines, the judge also charged the company and its
management with a NIS 25,000 fine suspended for three years.
“We see all
development activity that harms wildlife, values of nature and landscape as very
grave, and we are responsible for their protection,” said Roni Malka, INPA head
of security and law enforcement, in a statement released by his office, arguing
that the Dolphin Reef management knew it was causing the reef damage and was
conducting work without proper permits.
“I am pleased that the court was
not deterred and set the bar for punishment high for offenses against valued
natural treasures,” Malka continued.
“Without severe penalties for
offenders convicted of damaging nature, we will not be able to eradicate this