U.S. allows aquarium to import Marineland belugas, but Canadian approval needed

Marineland CKTB

An aquarium in the U.S. has received federal approval to import five beluga whales from Marineland, but the move is still awaiting final approval from the Canadian government.

In a deal that's been in the works for well over a year, Mystic Aquarium in Connecticut was granted import permits by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on Friday.

Marineland, in Niagara Falls, Ont., has received one Canadian federal permit under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.

But a spokesman with Fisheries and Oceans Canada says the department has not issued a second required permit, which must be approved by the minister.

Mystic Aquarium will be prohibited from breeding the animals should the Canadian government approve the move.

Marineland says the sale is part of its ``ongoing commitment to education, conservation and research.''