Why are we concerned about the heartless capture of white whales?
In June this year, Georgia Aquarium applied for a permit to import 18 white whales or belugas from Russia.
The application for a permit requests authorisation to import 18 beluga whales from the Utrish Marine Mammal Research Station in Russia, to the United States for the entertainment industry.
According to the permit application, the belugas were previously captured from the Russian Sea of Okhotsk by Utrishskiy delphinarium. ‘Utrish’, as it is commonly called, is a facility that supplies wild marine mammals to facilities around the world, and it has contributed to making Russia one of the largest suppliers of sea animals in the world.
Marine mammal protection group, Marine Connection, says that the whales captured are caught in the Black Sea.
The 18 belugas that Georgia Aquarium wishes to import will officially and lawfully be held by the Georgia Aquarium, who will transport them to other U.S. partner facilities under breeding loan arrangements. These organisations are Sea World of Florida, Sea World of Texas, Sea World of California, Shedd Aquarium and possibly Mystic Aquarium.
Backed by an International Union for Conservation of Nature sustainability study called “the Beluga Project”, these display facilities would have the public believe that the import is critical to conserving beluga populations in the wild.
What the aquaria won’t openly tell you, is that the IUCN study was collectively sponsored by Ocean Park Corporation, Hong Kong; Georgia Aquarium Inc., Atlanta, USA; Sea World Parks and Entertainment, USA; Mystic Aquarium and Institute for Exploration, Connecticut, USA and Kamogawa Sea World, Japan. These businesses therefore have a vested interest in the heartless capture of white whales.
Nor will they expand too much on the company behind the captures, how
these whales were captured and why Georgia Aquarium is using Russian suppliers to restock America’s captive beluga population.
Under the US Marine Mammal Protection Act, while capturing marine animals in US waters with a permit is legal, the animals must be captured by only “humane” methods.
Due to whale size, pod structure, and close social bonds, these animals must be forced (driven) into shallow areas. According to the IUCN study, the capture teams target small groups of belugas passing near shore and force the trapped whales into shallow water where they are stranded and helpless.