San Juan Islands Kayak Tour Guides Want Captive Orca Whales Released

Sea Quest Kayak Tours guides call for all aquariums to release their captive orca whales back into the wild.

Having considered the scientific facts, studied the orca whales firsthand for several decades on our sea kayak tours in the San Juan Islands, and using our accumulated knowledge as scientists, educators, and naturalists, we find the evidence to be overwhelming that orca whales are unsuited for captivity and maintaining them in aquariums is unethical.

Consider the following:

  • Captive orca whales should be released say San Juan Islands kayak tour guides. Orca whales swim up to 100 miles a day in the ocean compared to less than 1 mile in captivity. Their massive trademark dorsal fins limply droop over in captivity from the lack of activity.
  • Orca whales are acoustic creatures and see their world largely in patterns of sound. In captivity they are forced to live in echo chambers, similar to techniques used by interrogators on prisoners.
  • Orca whales live their entire lives with the family pod of their birth and have a rich and complicated social life. Captives are stolen from families while juveniles and forced to live with strange whales that do not even share the same vocalizations.
  • Orca whales live to be as old as humans in the wild, but in captivity they rarely live more than 20 years. Orca calves born in captivity rarely survive to adulthood.
  • Wild orca whales have never harmed a human or been observed injuring other orcas. Captive orca whales have killed humans on several occasions and severely attacked other orcas, too.

It should be obvious that captivity is not a physically or socially healthy environment for orca whales. The one argument for keeping them in aquariums that we have any sympathy for is the educational value they provide to the public. But with alternatives such as orca whale watching kayak tours in Washington and film documentaries available, this final argument no longer has merit.

Please read this proposal for releasing an orca whale born wild and later captured in the San Juan Islands of Washington. More intelligent discourse on how she can be returned to her home waters to rejoin her family and how you can help is found at

Experience an Orca Whale Watching Kayak Tour from Seattle, Washington

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In a new study, former SeaWorld trainers Jeffrey Ventre, M.D. and John Jett, Ph.D., take us deep behind the scenes of marine parks with captive whales. Their report underscores the aquariums’ inability to provide adequate environments for keeping killer whales alive in captivity. Drs. Ventre and Jett provide detailed observations and strong statistical calculations that show captivity kills orca whales at an usually young age and that stresses, social tensions and poor health are chronic issues in marine park aquariums. A new statistic called “Mean Duration of Captivity” (MDC), drawn from diverse credible sources, allows overall comparisons with free-ranging orca whales and reveals a shockingly low average longevity in captivity. In this research paper you’ll see the precursors and symptoms of stresses in orcas in captivity, illustrated with powerful photos. The authors invite students, teachers and the public to share these images and use them in their reports and projects. Download it here.



One of the foremost ocean conservation advocates voices his opinions on the practice of keeping orca whales in captivity. It should not be a surprise that such an intelligent and experienced expert believes that killer whales should no longer be captured and kept in aquariums. Please watch and listen to his statement with some nice background video of both wild and captive orcas.

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