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EII Urging Philippines To Return Dolphins To Solomon

Solomon Islands, January 22, 09

Written by Ednal Palmer

International animal activities are urging the Philippine Government to return dolphins exported to them back to the Solomon Islands.

Solomon Islands Mammal Education Centre and Exporters Ltd sent seven dolphins there last month. Another 11 left yesterday. These were sent there to be trained before they are re-exported to Singapore for entertainment purposes.

Twelve marine and conservation organizations around the world have written to the Philippines Government asking them to return the dolphins.

In a letter obtain by the Solomon Star, addressed to Edwyn B. Alesna, Chairman Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources/CITES in the Philippines, the group offered options or pursue legal action.

"We respectfully request your immediate action to:

  1. seize and confiscate the seven dolphins already in the Philippines and, at the expense of the importer, prepare to return them to the Solomon Islands;
  2. deny the issuance of any import permit for the additional eleven dolphins; and
  3. immediately notify the Solomon Islands government that you will not allow the import of any additional dolphins from there until and unless it complies with Article IV of CITES and with the relevant requirements contained in Philippine law.

They said the import and export of wildlife and wildlife products is clear violations of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and the associated laws of the Philippines.

"On behalf of the undersigned organizations, we are seeking your immediate assistance to prevent ongoing violations of these laws. In addition, we understand that an additional 11 dolphins are scheduled to be exported from the Solomon Islands to the Philippines at any moment and that this shipment, if allowed to proceed, would also violate CITES and Philippine law," the letter said.

Earth Island Institute Director based in the United States Mark Berman told Solomon Star yesterday's the export is further atrocity against the dolphin populations of the Solomon Islands.

The 11 dolphins is going to Philippines and then to Sentosa Resort, Singapore.

"We will continue to fight for the freedom of dolphins and an end to this cruel trade," Mr. Berman said.

"At nearly 100,000 USD per dolphin, you can see that only certain individuals line their pockets with cash. The citizens of the Solomon Islands see none of this profit, and the dolphins belong to no one. "They are migratory and just happen to be in SI waters when they are taken prisoner," he said.

He adds: "I would like to congratulate the Western Province for allowing dolphins in their waters to swim free from human abuse. This continues to allow Noro base and Soltai to be dolphin safe for their tuna products".

Mr. Berman said the Solomon Islands Government should know that the short term money from dolphin catch and export will in time dry up as the international community of environmental organizations works to end the markets for dolphin captures and exports.

Consultant Notes Dolphin Question In New Solomons' Cannery

Solomon Islands, January 22, 09

Source: Radio New Zealand

A tuna cannery consultant says Solomon Islands has great potential in the cannery industry, but he has reservations over whether the tuna could be certified as dolphin safe.

Don Hosokawa of US based Tuna Tech has worked with many canneries in the Pacific region and says there's a huge potential for a successful cannery operation in Malaita province.

He says he would provide the necessary technical expertise to set up any potential cannery and Getax Australia would be looking to fund it.

But Mr. Hosokawa says certifying the tuna for marketing purposes in countries like the United States, the European Union, Australia or New Zealand could prove difficult.

"One of the answers that has to be overcome though is that the tuna must be considered dolphin safe which requires certification of Earth Island. And I don't know any background or history of that going on in the Solomon Islands but in order to market the tuna, canned tuna or loin tuna on an international basis, it must be certified as dolphin safe in order to sell to all the major markets."

Don Hosokawa says a variety of landowners were fully supportive of the idea, and more talks with officials are likely to be the next step.

EII Connects New Tuna Cannery Setup With Dolphin Trade

Solomon Islands, January 21, 09

By Atuna

The possible set up of a new tuna cannery in the province of Malaita, Solomon Island, could be causing some controversy.

According to Mr. Mark Berman of the dolphin protection group Earth Island Institute the Malaita region is known for dolphin capture and trade to water parks around the world. Even though this depletive practice is in no way related to tuna fishing, the possibility of a tuna cannery in the area was enough to put Earth Island Institute (EII) on alert.

The director of EII's international Dolphin Safe Tuna Monitoring program, Mark Berman, stated that the Institute will not approve such cannery as dolphin safe. He claims that the local authorities are hostile to EII negotiations to stop dolphin fishing, killing and trade and added that "There is no way under the present situation that a cannery in Malaita will be considered dolphin safe".

Mr. Berman declared that the Western Province of Solomon Island has declared dolphins a protected species and that since there's no killing or trade of the mammal in that area, canneries belonging to Soltai and Trimarine are still considered dolphin safe.

However, the investors interested in base the new tuna cannery in Malaita don't really see the association of the local depleting actions towards dolphins to the tuna industry.

A U.S. consultant agency involved in the project - Tuna Tech Services - has held an introductory meeting with tribal landowning representatives of the area last week.

According to Don Hosokawa of Tuna Tech, the cannery proposal is actually fact finding stage only. Nevertheless, Mr. Hosokawa assured that the project will utilize only dolphin safe tuna for its operation: "That has always been my practice", he finalized.

International Marine Mammal Project
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