NMFS deny bid by SeaWorld and other aquariums to import wild-caught beluga whales

The federal government on Tuesday rejected a bid by a consortium of U.S. marine-park and aquarium owners — including SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. — to import 18 beluga whales that had been captured from the wild. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s  National Marine Fisheries Service said it would not grant an import permit for the whales, which were taken from the Sea of Okhotsk off the eastern coast of Russia, because it could not say whether the move would harm the wild population from which they were captured. That is the standard required by the Marine Mammal Protection Act. @orlandosentinal