3 Dec 2021 13:19

'Whale jail' dismantled in Srednyaya Bay in Primorye

VLADIVOSTOK. Dec 3 (Interfax) - The prosecution service has reported the removal of "whale jail" cages, where 11 orcas and 90 beluga whales were held in captivity in 2018-2019, from the Srednyaya Bay in the Primorye Territory.

"The floating structures have been dismantled and taken to the Livadia Ship Maintenance Plant in a condition that rules out their further use as intended," the Amur basin nature conservancy prosecution service said on Thursday.

There are no cages left in the Srednyaya Bay, and the new owner of the structures will use them in ship repairs.

The legality of cages for marine mammals in the Srednyaya Bay was checked by the prosecution service.

It appeared that Lakkolit LLC was using the Srednyaya Bay as an anchorage and ship service area. In 2018, some of the waters were leased to other companies that held illegally harvested marine mammals in seven towed structures.

The lease contracts were terminated in October-November 2020, yet the former tenants did nothing to clear the bay of the structures. The Vladivostok inter-district nature conservancy prosecutor issued a warning to Lakkolit LLC, and the cages were taken away.

Back in October, a Greenpeace activist flew a paraglider over the remaining "whale jail" structures offshore Nakhodka in the Primorye Territory in a protest against whale harvesting.

About a hundred orcas and belugas were caught in the Sea of Okhotsk in 2018 for Chinese oceanariums. Eleven orcas and 90 belugas were caged in Srednyaya Bay near Nakhodka, and animal rights activists dubbed the place as a "whale jail." Following interference of the public, the Prosecutor General's Office, and the Russian Investigative Committee, it turned out that the whales were harvested with numerous violations of law. Criminal and administrative cases were opened, and all animals were set free in November 2019.