Help stop beluga transfers from Canada
Despite Bill S-203 being passed in Canada to ban future imports and exports of captive whales, dolphins and porpoises, permits to move two beluga whales from Marineland, Canada to L’Oceanogràfic in Valencia, Spain as part of a research project were apparently approved.
It has been revealed that there are also plans to move five belugas from Marineland to Mystic Aquarium, Connecticut and possibly Georgia Aquarium for research purposes – in 2014 Georgia Aquarium working with Mystic Aquarium, attempted, unsuccessfully, to import 18 wild-caught belugas from Russia.
It is Marine Connection’s belief that Marineland is using loopholes in the Canadian legislation on research to trade their belugas with the USA and Spanish facilities. We further believe that the animals will also be used to breed from because once outside their jurisdiction, Canada will have no say in what happens to the animals which could potentially mean that the belugas planned to be exported to facilities in the USA or Spain could be utilised for breeding, despite the conditions laid out in Bill S-203.
Under the new Canadian laws, any whale or dolphin moved from Canada must only be done for research and only be in the interests of the individual concerned, moving these whales from Marineland to any other facility for any purpose is not in the interest of the whales, rather the interest of the public display facilities which will receive them.
Moving these belugas is in direct opposition to what Bill S-203 has been put in place to address and will not enhance the welfare of the individual animals. For example, the beluga facility at L’Oceanografic is small and already overcrowded therefore it will be difficult to prevent breeding, the pools are indoors, devoid of fresh air and natural sunlight, contrary to what the whales are used to at Marineland. Also transporting the whales across the Atlantic and adapting to a new environment will expose them to to extreme stress, therefore any movement of these belugas should only be undertaken if it is to improve their conditions, for example, to move them to a sanctuary where they will not be on public display or made to perform.
Please join Marine Connection in voicing concern over these proposed exports.
- Contact the newly appointed Canadian Fisheries Minister, Bernadette Jordan, urging her to investigate our concerns as a matter of urgency and put a halt on any permits already agreed. Email her at: Bernadette.Jordan@parl.gc.ca
- Contact the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) before the 2 December when a decision is due to be made regarding the permit application for the USA. Urge them to please deny the application, as if NMFS grants this permit, these animals would be on public display at Mystic Aquarium and likely Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta, as well as possibly other facilities throughout the United States.
Photo Credit: Mendar Bouchali
Marine Connection was founded by Margaux Dodds and Liz Sandeman in 1997 after being directly involved in campaigning against, and successfully closing down, the last dolphinariums in the UK. Their vision is to see a world where the life of every dolphin, whale and porpoise matters.
For an earlier podcast we recorded with Margaux Dodds please go to Marine Connection | Working to save whales and dolphins