01 August 2014

Former park commissioners: Cetacean captivity at Vancouver Aquarium has outlived its usefulness

 This letter was sent to the Vancouver Park Board Commissioners and published in the Straight.com on-line newspaper.
July 31, 2014.


As former Park Board Commissioners, we would like to give our support to ending the captivity and display of marine mammals, particularly cetaceans, in Vancouver Parks at the Vancouver Aquarium.
The display of whales and dolphins is a practice that has outlived its usefulness both for public education and for research. The most desperately needed research in these areas is to work on limiting the impact that humans have on the marine environment, research that cannot be done in captivity.

We feel that the aquarium tanks, regardless of current and future expansions, are inadequate for the humane support of dolphins, belugas or any other type of large marine mammal.

The “showing” of these animals in an artificial environment does not serve current educational practices. The environmental message that citizens, young and old, in Vancouver need to receive is that we need to care for the natural ocean habitat and its inhabitants. Marine mammals sequestered in tanks and performing in shows reinforce a 20th century idea that humans should have dominion over these animals. It is antiquated and harmful to the animals.

The scientific consensus of researchers outside of the Vancouver Aquarium is that these animals are much better off in their natural environment than in the miniscule tanks.

We urge the board to use its powers as landlord to the Vancouver Aquarium and as the elected voice of the people of Vancouver on these matters to phase out the keeping of marine mammals in captivity.

Stuart Mackinnon,
Parks Commissioner ’08-’11

Donna Morgan
Parks Commissioner ’93-’96

Dermot Foley
Parks Commissioner ’90-’93

Anita Romaniuk
Former Parks Board Chair and Commissioner ’02-’05

Tim Louis
Parks Commissioner '90-'96


  1. Please add my name as well.

    Tim Louis
    Parks Commissioner '90-'96

  2. Thank you for opposing cetacean captivity at the Vancouver Aquarium.

  3. THANK-YOU from the USA!!!!
    I admire your progressive, intelligent decision!!!!! Let's see Kiska get OUT of her dismal surroundings and into a seapen with other Orcas!!!
    I will continue to fight here for a complete ban!!!
    I also hope you can be instrumental in ending the Harp Seal "hunt"!!!??

  4. Thank you for your compassionate stance to free the cetaceans.