Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

A sign for Marineland is shown in Niagara Falls, Ont., on Aug. 14, 2017.

Tara Walton/The Canadian Press

Marineland has applied for permits to sell five beluga whales to a U.S. facility that plans to use them for research and breeding, which is currently banned in Canada.

The Niagara Falls, Ont., tourist attraction has struck a deal with Mystic Aquarium in Connecticut that would see the mammals move there in January 2020.

“We welcome the opportunity to support Mystic Aquarium’s world-class research and are confident that the series of research studies they intend to undertake will significantly improve humanity’s understanding of this species, and positively promote conservation of wild beluga populations,” Marineland said in a statement.

Story continues below advertisement

Neither Marineland nor Mystic Aquarium provided financial details of the deal.

Exporting and importing captive whales is illegal in Canada under two new laws passed in June, but there are two exceptions: for research purposes or if it is in the best interest of the animals. The legislation also bans whale, dolphin and porpoise captivity, as well as breeding of whales. Marineland, however, was grandfathered in the laws.

The move of the five Marineland whales to the U.S. requires two permits from the federal government.

A new law banned whale, dolphin and porpoise captivity, but grandfathered in the two facilities in the country, which includes Marineland, where they are already being kept.

A spokeswoman for Fisheries and Oceans Canada said the park has been issued one permit to export the animals under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. But she said Marineland has yet to apply for the second permit, which must be approved by the minister.

Marineland is also in the process of moving two belugas to a facility in Spain, which was approved by the federal government in August.

The park’s president, Marie Holer, said in an affidavit filed with the U.S. federal authority – the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration – that the move of the five belugas is being done in part to increase space for its remaining whales. As of the March 4 affidavit, Holer said Marineland had 54 belugas.

Story continues below advertisement

Mystic Aquarium currently has three belugas, said Tracy Romano, the facility’s lead researcher.

“Pollution of all kinds – noise, plastic, chemicals – is ruining habitat,” Romano said in an e-mail. “We need to know how to detect and respond. That becomes possible and effective when we better understand whales’ immune systems, hearing, diving, and other everyday behaviours. Whales in the aquarium show us this information in a controlled setting so we can use it in the wild.”

All five whales were born at Marineland to belugas that were captured in the waters off the eastern coast of Russia.

Mystic Aquarium will own two of the animals while Georgia Aquarium will own three, according to documents filed with the NOAA.

“It is estimated that a maximum of two calves would be born during the five-year permit, as only two of the belugas proposed for import are adults,” Mystic wrote in its import application to the NOAA.

Mystic and Georgia Aquarium will split ownership of the calves under a breeding loan agreement between the two facilities.

Story continues below advertisement

“Incidental to the research, display of the beluga whales in the Arctic Coast habitat at Mystic Aquarium will occur,” Mystic wrote in its application.

The American public has until Dec. 2 to comment on the possible importation of the whales.

Our Morning Update and Evening Update newsletters are written by Globe editors, giving you a concise summary of the day’s most important headlines. Sign up today.

Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies