Michael Staines
Michael Staines

13.52 12 Jun 2019


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Canada has passed legislation making it illegal to hold whales, dolphins and porpoises in captivity.

The legislation also makes it illegal to breed, import, export or capture the animals across Canadian territory.

Anyone breaking the law will face a fine of up to C$200,000 (€133,000).

There are some exceptions to the new law.

  • Animals already in captivity will be allowed to remain there, provided they are not released and recaptured ever again.
  • They can also be kept in captivity during rehabilitation from injury or “another state of distress.”
  • The law also does not apply to animals that are in captivity for the purposes of Government-licensed scientific research.

The country currently has two aquariums that house captive cetaceans.

Marineland of Canada at Niagara Falls has one orca, five bottlenose dolphins and around 55 beluga whales.

There is also a Pacific white-sided dolphin named Helen at the Vancouver Aquarium.

The new laws were passed in Canada’s Senate last year, with the House of Commons giving its approval on Monday.

The bill will become law once it receives Royal Assent.


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