Georgia Aquarium Loses Legal Battle over Beluga Whales

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A federal judge in Atlanta has upheld a government agency's denial of a permit that would have allowed the Georgia Aquarium to import 18 beluga whales from Russia.

U.S. District Judge Amy Totenberg on Monday ruled that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Marine Fisheries Service properly reviewed the aquarium's permit application through the lens of the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

The federal agency, known as NOAA Fisheries, had argued the aquarium's permit failed to meet some requirements of the 1972 law.

The aquarium argued the whales are needed to strengthen the gene pool of whales in captivity in the U.S. and for research and education. The aquarium said the agency's denial of its permit application was arbitrary and capricious.