About a week ago, the British Columbia Court of Appeal ruled that the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation can tell the Vancouver Aquarium to phase out dolphin and whale captivity.
This is a step forward to the day when cetaceans, which are whales, dolphins, and porpoises, won’t be forced to endure the misery of being confined to a cramped tank.
This was a result of the decision made last March by the Vancouver Park Board to amend the Parks Control Bylaw to ban cetacean captivity at the Vancouver Aquarium.
The bill that prohibits their captivity, S-203, was first proposed in 2015, and after three years of intensive struggle, it has finally made through the House of Commons.
It was supported across the political parties, meaning that environmental issues are no longer a subject to party politics, as it should be, as we all share the same planet.
The bill bans the breeding of dolphins and whales in captivity, and it amends the current criminal code to include this as a crime. Therefore marine parks can keep cetaceans which are currently under their care, but they will not be allowed to breed a new generation or capture more in the wild.
It also bans the import of cetacean sperm, tissues, or embryos. The shocking reality revealed by documentaries like Black Fish made the public aware of the activities that harm the environment.
According to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC):
“The Senate bill really has two targets in mind: the Vancouver Aquarium and Marineland in Niagara Falls, Ont.
The Vancouver Aquarium once defended holding these mammals in captivity on both scientific and educational grounds, but recently said it would no longer display whales or dolphins at its facility as protests over captivity have become a “distraction” for the business.
Marineland has been a vocal opponent of the Senate bill, saying it would devastate attendance — and threaten conservation efforts — at theme parks where these animals are on display. It has also said the bill threatens the seasonal employment of hundreds of local residents during the summer months.”
Additionally, Canada has also passed Bill S-238, which inhibits the import of sharks’ fins.
These actions of the Canadian political parties are encouraging, and once more point out the importance of joint efforts to protect our environment.