Breeding ban on dolphins and whales was passed in July
By Brittney MacDonald, Staff Writer
Vancouver Non-Partisan Association (NPA) park commissioners John Coupar and Sarah Kirby-Yung have stated that they will use the Vancouver Park Board’s new NPA majority to make good on their campaign promise to lift the breeding ban currently imposed on the Vancouver Aquarium.
The breeding ban was issued following a lengthy public debate over allowing the Vancouver Aquarium to continue to house cetaceans in captivity. Concern for the mammals’ welfare was an issue, and the worry that a planned expansion meant more whales and dolphins would be kept in captivity. The debate was put to rest momentarily in May when the Vancouver City Council voted in favour of allowing the Vancouver Aquarium to continue to house whales and dolphins captured before 1996 and those that had been injured and could no longer be released into the wild.
The ban was eventually voted in by Vision Vancouver, who previously helmed the Park Board prior to November’s elections; the ban has been in place despite claims made by the Vancouver Aquarium that it is disruptive to their business practices.
Coupar displayed concern over the current relationship between the Vancouver Aquarium and the Park Board in an interview with CBC News: “We said we would [lift the ban] and that’s our plan, but we’re going to have to think through this carefully, especially with this new lawsuit that’s there.”
The Vancouver Aquarium has spoken out against the Park Board’s authority, issuing a petition to the Supreme Court challenging the Park Board’s jurisdiction on matters such as breeding.
Kirby-Yung also told CBC that the NPA wishes to keep the issue away from community referendum, “We were clear that as an NPA team that was part of our platform and we’re committed to that.
“We want to fulfill on the voters’ expectations and they voted for us on that platform.”
The Vancouver Aquarium at this time issued the Other Press a statement, saying “The Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre has worked with the City of Vancouver and the Vancouver Park Board for over 50 years. The Aquarium looks forward to welcoming and briefing the City’s newly elected representatives on all our conservation, research, and education efforts as soon as their schedule permits.”
No specifics have been revealed on how a lift on the ban may affect the current lawsuit, which was filed in August regarding the July ban. Amongst other arguments, the Vancouver Aquarium has stood by that they cannot control if whales or dolphins breed on their own.