July 30, 2014 3:41 pm

WATCH: 4 former Vancouver mayors throw their support behind the Vancouver Aquarium

VANCOUVER – Four former mayors of Vancouver have written letters to the current Mayor of Vancouver, Gregor Robertson, and the Vancouver Park Board, showing their support for the Vancouver Aquarium.

Mike Harcourt, Philip Owen, Larry Campbell and Sam Sullivan wrote separate letters (embedded below).

The Vancouver Aquarium says they have also received an open letter signed by dozens of influential people in Vancouver showing their support for the aquarium, which has come under fire recently for the practice of keeping captive cetaceans.

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The Vancouver Park Board held two special meetings to hear from people in the community who are for and against the issue.

More than 130 people signed up to speak.

The board also received a report by an independent scientist who found that the aquarium meets industry standards but said more research is needed to evaluate the ethics of the practice.

The topic of keeping cetaceans at the Vancouver Aquarium has been a controversial topic in the past year.

The issue has prompted local petitions, protests and plenty of public comment. The movement gained traction ever since the popularity of the documentary Blackfish about orcas in captivity at Sea World.

READ MORE: ‘Cove’ director and ‘Blackfish’ stars wade into aquarium debate

In addition to the public, several city officials and Dr. Jane Goodall have also publicly urged the Vancouver Aquarium to phase out the cetacean exhibits.

The aquarium currently holds two Arctic beluga whales and two Pacific white-sided dolphins and they want to expand the tanks for these animals next year.

Philip Owen letter of support

Mike Harcourt letter of support

Sam Sullivan letter of support

Larry Campbell letter of support

© Shaw Media, 2014

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