Non-profit groups explores Nova Scotia hunting for whale sanctuary locations

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HALIFAX – A non-profit organization is exploring the coasts of Nova Scotia in hopes of finding a sanctuary where previously captive whales and dolphins will be free to roam a netted area roughly the size of 40 large sport fields.

Lori Marino, the director of the Whale Sanctuary Project, says the concept is similar to the difference between a zoo and a national park, with one aim being to teach people to see cetaceans as wild creatures rather than objects for human entertainment.

Marino says an alternative is needed for the captured whales and dolphins that are currently kept in marinas and spend their lives performing tricks or being on display for the public in waters too shallow for them to dive deeply.

She says the project’s approximate cost would be $15 million, and it would include a visitor centre and staff who would ensure the whales, likely belugas and orcas, are fed.

Marino says she can’t divulge which areas are being considered in Nova Scotia, but says the province’s coast is among several North American coastlines, including areas off Maine and British Columbia, where there is potential habitat.

She says a decision on a potential location will be made by the middle of next year by the non-profit, charitable group.

The group says it is consulting the federal Fisheries Department, First Nations and other interested community groups about the regulatory approvals needed for use of coastlines as a netted-off sanctuary.


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