Last year, NOAA Fisheries denied Georgia Aquarium a permit to import 18 captured beluga whales from Russia. It seems they were right to do so. According to scientific papers, multiple facility requests have negatively impacted Russia's wild beluga stocks.
President Obama’s administration rejected the world’s largest aquarium this week to buy 18 beluga whales from Russia. It was their first endeavor in more than 20 years to import marine mammals recently captured from the wild.
When Georgia Aquarium applied for a permit to import 18 wild-caught belugas from Russia, their application became public in the Federal Register. This opened the application up to a public comment period that has so far attracted over 4,000 responses.
Recently, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Georgia Aquarium had applied to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for a permit to import 18 wild-caught belugas captured from Russian waters. Ethically, something stinks.