In a good bit of conservation news, Canada has banned the captivity and breeding of whales, dolphins and porpoises across the country. The Ending the Captivity of Whales and Dolphins Act, AKA the “Free Willy” bill, introduced in 2015, was signed into law on Monday.
The new law currently affects just two large aquariums, the Vancouver Aquarium and Ontario’s Marineland. But going forward, it will stop others from the practice of holding whales and dolphins captive. The Vancouver Aquarium, which has been phasing out cetaceans (whales and dolphins) for years, is down to just one dolphin. However, Marineland has over 50 beluga whales in captivity. Both will be allowed to keep their current stock, but will no longer be allowed to breed them.
Here in Maui County there is already an ordinance in place that prohibits the exhibit of cetaceans, thus Hawaii’s best aquarium, Maui Ocean Center does not have whale and dolphin shows. That said, while there’s nothing like viewing whales in person on a whale watch, if you want to get up close to Maui’s humpback whales, we highly recommend the new “Humpbacks of Hawaii” 3-D film shown in the Maui Ocean Center sphere for an immersive swim with the whales.
Sadly, other counties in Hawaii do not have laws prohibiting keeping cetaceans in captivity. You can see captive dolphins on both Oahu and the Big Island.
Here at Hawaii Ocean Project, we support the conservation of whales and all sea life with our Research Direct program. To date, we’ve donated over $90,000 to published ocean researchers.
By the way, did you know that you can now save $10/person on our Maui Princess Dinner Cruise or a Snorkel Adventure to the island of Lanai? Well you can! Just use the promo code VIP20 after clicking on this link: Hawaii Ocean Project Adventures.