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Ottawa approves moving two Marineland beluga whales to Spanish facility

Tourists line up at a viewing area to see two Marineland attractions, a Killer Whale calf swimnming with its mother and a small pod of Beluga Whales in Niagara Falls, Ont. on Wednesday July 18, 2001. (CP PHOTO/Scott Dunlop)

Two beluga whales at Marineland will be moved to a Spanish facility that the federal government says is better equipped to look after them.

Fisheries Minister Jonathan Wilkinson says he approved the permits for the move under a new law that bans the imports and exports of live whales, dolphins and porpoises.

Wilkinson says the move is in the best interest of the whales.

READ MORE: Bill S-203 and the future of marine parks in Canada

Vancouver Aquarium parent company Ocean Wise owns the whales and says they will be studied for research purposes at the new facility.

Marineland says it will work with other facilities to relocate more of its whales in the future.

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The Niagara Falls, Ont. tourist attraction says it meets or exceeds the highest internationally recognized standards of care for its whales.

WATCH: (April 29, 2019) Beluga whale found with harness appearing to be Russian made, causes worry in Norway

Click to play video 'Beluga whale found with harness appearing to be Russian made, causes worry in Norway' Beluga whale found with harness appearing to be Russian made, causes worry in Norway
Beluga whale found with harness appearing to be Russian made, causes worry in Norway – Apr 29, 2019