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Critic questions aquarium motive to manage European marine park

Last Updated Apr 25, 2015 at 12:39 am PST

A dolphin show at L'Oceanografic (Courtesy L'Oceanografic)

President of No Whales in Captivity calls Vancouver Aquarium's move to manage an attraction in Spain 'alarming'

Local organization says profits, not conservation, is the priority as the Vancouver Aquarium gets set to assume management of Europe's biggest aquarium

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – News that the Vancouver Aquarium has been chosen to manage Europe’s biggest aquarium is being met with some cynicism.

The president of No Whales in Captivity is not buying the aquarium’s reasons for taking on the new project.

Annalise Sorg says the role of the Vancouver Aquarium is to make money for L’Oceanogràfic, which is located in Valencia, Spain.

“This is very alarming because the Vancouver Aquarium is able to hide behind its charitable status and there is this kind of business going on, big business.”

She says the people responsible for choosing the winning bid to operate the marine park obviously felt confident about the Vancouver Aquarium’s ability to generate profits, or they wouldn’t have chosen it.

The Vancouver Aquarium insists its new role in running the attraction is to further its conservation efforts.

L’Oceanogràfic features, among other things, humans and dolphins performing together to music for large crowds. It also has belugas.

Sorg calls the facility a water circus.

“The Spanish aquarium is just a place where there’s loud music and trained performances to get the public roused up and having fun.”

The Vancouver Aquarium hopes to assume management of L’Oceanogràfic by the end of the spring.