Vancouver Aquarium expansion plan under fire

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      A Vancouver activist group opposed to holding whales and dolphins in captivity says planned upgrades to the Vancouver Aquarium will create a “larger marine prison” in Stanley Park.

      The federal and provincial governments announced today (August 9) they will provide up to $25 million for work to expand the popular marine centre.

      The funding announcement comes three weeks after the Vancouver park board rejected a proposal to hold a non-binding public vote in 2011 on whether whales and dolphins should be held in captivity at the aquarium.

      The group WhaleFriends has been calling for a plebiscite on the captivity issue.

      “No amount of expansion of the aquarium’s facilities will change that fact that captivity is cruel and inhumane and that these sentient beings suffer greatly as a result of their confinement,” says a statement from WhaleFriends.

      “An expanded aquarium will just be a larger marine prison in Stanley Park.”

      In a news release, the Vancouver Aquarium says the upgrades will help it “enhance its exceptional animal care” and “provide enhanced expanded spaces and experiences” for visitors.

      As part of the upgrades, a new holding and display pool will be built, providing more room for whales and dolphins, the aquarium says.

      John Nightengale, Vancouver Aquarium president, has previously said most people in the city support having whales and dolphins at the facility.



      dave lee

      Aug 9, 2010 at 11:37pm

      from my sense, most people do support the activities of the aquarium. People may not support capturing whales, but existing whales in aquariums and whales that were injured and rehabilitated by aquarium biologists like vancouver aquarium are tamed and can't survive in the wild anymore. In cases like that, i can only think that a bigger pool is better.

      There are some activists of course who say free the whales. Really....why do they continue to target a place like the vancouver aquarium who's job is a research and rehabilitation institution who treats the animals with a lot of dignity. The activists should probably spend their time targetting the places that truly use the whales and animals for entertainment purposes only...places like seaworld and marine land....places that continue to capture NEW whales from the wild! That would be a far better useful and meaningful cause than to spend millions to make vanaqua's whales adapt to the wild (which they won't), and releasing them (where they would die a rather quick death!).


      Aug 10, 2010 at 10:00am

      $25 million to expand the Aquarium? It's embarrassing enough that a place that holds citations captivity is in Vancouver to begin with, let alone being given an absurd about of money for expansion plans. Release the damn whales and put the money towards a much more socially relevant cause like low-income housing or eduction.