NOAA: Stop Georgia Aquarium from importing wild beluga whales for captivity
  • Petitioned Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums

This petition was delivered to:

Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums
NOAA Southeast Regional Office
Kim Amendola
NOAA, Office of Protected Resources
P. Michael Payne
Georgia Aquarium Director Meghann Gibbons
Georgia Aquarium
National Marine Fisheries Services, Office of Protected Resources

NOAA: Stop Georgia Aquarium from importing wild beluga whales for captivity

    1. Jennifer Mishler
    2. Petition by

      Jennifer Mishler

      Alexandria, VA

August 2013


Thank you to the more than 75,000 people who came to to sign and shared this petition, and to everyone who contacted the NOAA Fisheries to speak up for these beluga whales who were captured from their ocean home and their family members. Thousands more sent in comments during the NOAA's public comment period for the Georgia Aquarium's permit. The public's stance on keeping these incredibly complex animals with strong social bonds in captivity is rapidly changing. The NOAA has rightly determined that the capture of these animals from wild populations cannot be determined to have been sustainable or humane.

The Georgia Aquarium has applied for a permit to import 18 beluga whales into the U.S. where they will be in captivity at various aquariums and zoological parks throughout the country.
These whales taken from the Sea of Okhotsk in eastern Russia, have been removed from their pod and their natural habitat. Beluga whales are highly social animals who live in large pods and form strong bonds especially between mothers and calves.
The Georgia Aquarium claims this is a "conservation" effort, however, these whales will likely never be released back into the ocean. Many may die at an early age due to the stress of captivity, and Georgia Aquarium's infant beluga whale died just days after being born in May.

Please help stop plans to send more beluga whales far from their ocean home to barren, concrete tanks in aquariums and zoological parks. These belugas should be released back into their ocean home, please give them back their freedom!

Recent signatures


    1. NOAA Fisheries denies application to import 18 beluga whales for captivity

      Jennifer Mishler
      Petition Organizer
      NOAA Fisheries denies application to import 18 beluga whales for public display

      NOAA Fisheries denies application to import 18 beluga whales for public display August 6, 2013 Following a number of public engagement efforts, NOAA Fisheries today announced it is denying the Georgia Aquarium's request for a permit to import 18 beluga whales from Russia for public display in the United States.

    2. National Geographic: The Great White Whale Fight

      Jennifer Mishler
      Petition Organizer
      The Great White Whale Fight

      For two decades, the U.S. hasn't imported wild-caught whales or dolphins. Now the Georgia Aquarium wants to bring in 18 belugas from Russia.

    3. Reached 75,000 signatures
    4. No NOAA decision as of March 2013

      Jennifer Mishler
      Petition Organizer

      The NOAA says they are still reviewing public comments and have not made a decision on this permit as of March 2013, and that their final decision will be posted here:

    5. Reached 50,000 signatures
    6. Reached 4,000 signatures
    7. Reached 3,000 signatures
    8. CBS Atlanta: Georgia Aquarium applies to bring 18 belugas to US

      Jennifer Mishler
      Petition Organizer

      Includes a link to the petition

    9. Reached 1,000 signatures
    10. Reached 10 signatures


    Reasons for signing

      • about 1 year ago

      “The assumption that animals are without rights, and the illusion that our treatment of them has no moral significance, is a positively outrageous example of Western crudity and barbarity. Universal compassion in the only guarantee of morality.”

      • about 1 year ago

      its not fair to take animals from their natural habitat into captivity for enjoyments of others, these animals deserve to be free their best interests are paramount

    • Omar González TLAQUEPAQUE, MEXICO
      • about 1 year ago

      Slaves in a Cage!

    • Mitchell Murphy SEATTLE, WA
      • about 1 year ago

      These belugas will be slaves for our entertainment if they are allowed to be captured and held captive.

    • Heather Davis MACON, GA
      • about 1 year ago

      All cetaceans, including belugas, are very intelligent and cannot possibly receive proper stimulation to thrive in a captive environment. Belugas need much larger areas to explore than any aquarium can ever provide or simulate, and they will not breed in captivity because their life quality and level of contentment is not suitable. Conservation of this species in the wild is important, and taking individuals out of the wild to put them into tanks where they will not willingly breed is certainly not a way to help them.


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