Vancouver Aquarium seeks judicial review in fight against cetacean bylaws

The Vancouver Aquarium is taking the city’s park board to court, challenging four bylaw resolutions that would almost eliminate whale and dolphin displays at the popular tourist attraction.

VANCOUVER — The Vancouver Aquarium is taking the city’s park board to court, challenging four bylaw resolutions that would almost eliminate whale and dolphin displays at the popular tourist attraction.

Aquarium president John Nightingale says a judicial review is being requested because the resolutions are believed to be outside the jurisdiction of the park board.

They would phase out the aquarium’s program to study and display whales, dolphins and porpoises — identified collectively as cetaceans — and only permit breeding of threatened species.

Nightingale says the resolutions are impractical and put the creatures, and the aquarium, at risk.

The bylaw overhaul was announced last month after several lengthy hearings on the issue of animals in captivity, and Nightingale says the revisions are politically motivated.

Currently, the aquarium cares for rescued animals that can’t care for themselves in the ocean or those that were born in captivity, and houses two Pacific white-sided dolphins, two harbour porpoises and two beluga whales.

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