After posting about the possibility of a Whale sanctuary on the Eastern Shore a couple of months back we thought it was time for an update and some details.
On February 26 The Whale Sanctuary Project announced that it will create North Americas first seaside sanctuary for whales being retired from entertainment parks in Port Hilford. The plan to locate a sanctuary in Nova Scotia comes in the wake of Parliament passing Bill S-203 in 2019, to bring an end to keeping whales and dolphins captive in Canada. While the bill doesn’t immediately restrict the practice it does ban whales, dolphins and porpoises from being bred or held in captivity going forward.
The following is from The Whale Sanctuary web site. Port Hilford offers an expansive area that can be netted off for the whales in a bay that’s open to the ocean but is sheltered from storms. It has access to necessary infrastructure and plenty of room along the shore for the facilities that will be needed to care for the animals, as well as for an onsite education and interpretive center. The next steps in working toward the creation of a sanctuary will be to work with local fishers and community members to further define the vision for the whale sanctuary, and to initiate the regulatory processes needed to establish the site. The Whale Sanctuary Project’s objective is to have the sanctuary ready to receive whales by the end of 2021.
The project will cost $12-15 million U.S. for the creation of the sanctuary, and then $2 million U.S. per year for the care for 6-8 whales. The idea is to net off 40 hectares of water space, which is more than 300 times larger than the biggest amusement park tank. This long-term care will be covered through through endowments, sustaining donations, and other revenue-generating opportunities. Planned infrastructure includes a visitor center, nature trail and viewing spots. The sanctuary will also work with schools and museums to offer educational programs about the whales at the sanctuary and their counterparts in the wild.
The Whale Sanctuary Project is a U.S. based conservation group. http://www.whalesanctuaryproject.org