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Vancouver Aquarium defends whale and dolphin captivity

VANCOUVER – The Vancouver Aquarium is defending itself after the city’s mayor expressed his personal beliefs against whales and dolphins in captivity.

The aquarium says in a news release that Gregor Robertson might not understand the vital role belugas and dolphins play in its conservation efforts.

Robertson’s comments that the aquarium should begin to phase out its whales and dolphins come after a drive for the issue to be resolved in a city-wide referendum during November’s civic election.

While the mayor says the aquarium is renowned worldwide for its conservation efforts, ocean research and public education, he does not support a referendum because the Park Board has the authority to phase out the holding of whales and dolphins in captivity.

Robertson says he’s hopeful that the aquarium and the board can work collaboratively and come to an agreement on how to phase out the current captivity program with a review that will be informed, thoughtful and inclusive.

Critics say the aquarium should stop displaying large mammals and release them to the wild.