Canada To Ban Capture of Beluga Whales Following Captive Deaths
OTTAWA (AP) _ Canada will ban the capture of beluga whales for export, the government said Tuesday, acting after the controversial deaths of two Canadian belugas shipped to a Chicago aquarium.
In announcing the ban, Fisheries Minister John Crosbie also endorsed 11 other recommendations of a federal advisory committee studying the capture and care of whales, dolphins and porpoises.
The issue of beluga whale capture came to international attention in August when two of four belugas captured in Canada died in Chicago. A report by the John G. Shedd aquarium said the whales probably died because they suffered reactions to an anti-parasite medication.
Animal rights activists called for a moratorium on capture of such whales, which grow to about 13 feet long.
In its report, the federal committee recommended the Fisheries Department ″consider that there are other sources of beluga whales, including captive-born animals, when considering applications for live captures.″
Crosbie did not say when the ban would take effect or give other details. The committee discouraged the release of whales, dolphins or porpoises to the wild after being in captivity for extended periods.
It also recommended discouraging further imports and breeding of killer whales until Canadian aquariums upgrade their facilities for this species.
Several captive killer whales have died in Canada during the last four years.