Whales and Dolphins in Captivity

Whales, dolphins and porpoises (cetaceans) are routinely caught from the wild for public display facilities around the world. As of 2020 Canada does not allow the keeping of cetaceans in captivity, their capture in Canadian waters or their importation for aquarium and marine park displays.

The Vancouver Aquarium and Marineland Canada are the only two Canadian facilities that currently hold cetaceans. The animals they keep were present when Canada’s anti-cetacean captivity law was passed, so they were grandfathered in the legislation. The law prohibits their breeding and once they die they cannot be replaced. For some of those animals, export to other aquariums and marine parks is a possibility, but exports are now subject to approval by the Canadian government.

Zoocheck is continuing to advocate on behalf of those cetaceans remaining in Canada and is promoting the establishment of ocean pen sanctuaries as a humane alternative to aquarium and marine park tanks for non-releasable individuals.