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VBOT supports the Vancouver Aquarium and its current cetacean policy

July 24, 2014

VANCOUVER, B.C. — The Vancouver Board of Trade’s President and CEO, Iain Black, sent a letter to Mayor Gregor Robertson, city councillors, and Parks Board commissioners yesterday afternoon outlining our organization’s support for the Vancouver Aquarium and its current cetacean policy.

The letter (available here) highlights the crucial economic and social contributions of the Aquarium to our city, including more than $43 million in direct and indirect annual economic output, $59 million from out-of-town visitors, $8.7 million in annual tax revenue, and more than $1 million in direct net revenue to the City of Vancouver each year.

“As a self-supporting not-for-profit organization, the Vancouver Aquarium has an annual operating budget of just over $30 million, 85 per cent of which is supported by visitor experience revenues — making it the only large, cultural organization in Canada that operates without subsidy from any level of government,” said Black. “The Aquarium’s collection of more than 50,000 animals plays an integral role in the attraction and engagement of its visitors, while providing support for important research, specialized skill development, and marine mammal rescue programs.”

However, Black notes that the current review process, initiated by the Parks Board, could negatively impact the Aquarium’s ability to operate in a self-supporting manner if it results in changes to the current cetacean policy. Further, the likely negative social and economic impact of such changes to the city and province cannot be ignored. 

“The Vancouver Board of Trade strongly supports the Vancouver Aquarium as a leading cultural institution in Vancouver and the organization’s current business model, as it clearly bodes well for its successful operation and the important role the Aquarium plays in supporting the economic, cultural and green positioning of this city and province,” said Black.

“Given our understanding that the Vancouver Aquarium has a long-standing policy of no wild capture of cetaceans — that for 18 years no cetaceans have been captured unless for medical assistance — and that those currently in captivity are incapable of surviving in the wild, The Vancouver Board of Trade does not object to the current cetacean policy of the Vancouver Aquarium,” said Black.

“Moreover, we are concerned that key scientific research and advances (specifically in the area of climate change impacts on the Arctic) might otherwise be lost by either releasing existing cetaceans, or by no longer coming to aid of cetaceans in need in the years to come.”

Download the full letter [PDF].

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About The Vancouver Board of Trade:

Since its inception in 1887, The Vancouver Board of Trade has been recognized as Pacific Canada’s leading business association, engaging members to positively impact public policy at all three levels of government and to succeed and prosper in the global economy. With a Membership whose employees comprise one third of B.C.’s workforce, we are the largest business association between Victoria and Toronto. We leverage this collective strength, facilitating networking opportunities, and providing professional development through four unique Member programs. In addition, we operate one of the largest events businesses in the country, providing a platform for national and international business and thought leaders to further enlighten B.C.’s business leaders.

Media Contact:

Greg Hoekstra
Communications Manager, The Vancouver Board of Trade
604-640-5450 | media@boardoftrade.com

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