Group Wants Dolphins Freed

By IRWIN LOY, 24 HOURS

The Vancouver Aquarium should be prosecuted for violating a parks board bylaw, claims a group that's against the aquarium keeping whales and dolphins.

"The aquarium is actually in continuing contempt of the bylaw," according to retired lawyer Denis Howarth, who represents the Coalition for No Whales in Captivity. Howarth planned on pressing his case to park board commissioners last night, not the first time he's lobbied against the aquarium.

The park board bylaw currently bans keeping whales or dolphins, but there are several exemptions that allowed the aquarium to bring in dolphins Helen and Hana last year.

They were found badly injured in a fishing net and deemed not releasable by the Japanese government. But Howarth argues the exemption demands the dolphins be eventually released.

But Aquarium president John Nightingale says that's just not possible, even if Helen and Hana are now healthy.

"You can't just take a dolphin and drop it in the ocean somewhere," Nightingale said. "You can't just indiscriminately plunk things back in nature and hope it works."