|all articles latest | past | articles by topics | search wildnews|
wild news on wildsingapore
Guardian 28 Aug 07
Solomons to resume export of live dolphins for animal shows
Barbara McMahon in Sydney
The Solomon Islands is to resume the export of live bottlenose dolphins, with local fishermen being encouraged to sell the mammals as a way to earn money.
Up to 100 will be allowed to be exported every year, according to the Solomons' fisheries minister, Nollen Leni. The dolphins are likely to be sold to marine parks, where they will perform in shows.
The New Zealand executive director of WWF (formerly the World Wide Fund for Nature), Chris Howe, said the development was appalling, and exporting live marine mammals was inhumane.
"It's just bizarre to move dolphins from one side of the planet to the other," he said. "There are much more sustainable ways of developing your economy than doing that."
Fishermen are likely to be paid a few hundred pounds for each live dolphin. Once trained and shipped abroad, they command prices of about £15,000.
The Solomons suspended live dolphin exports four years ago amid an outcry over the capture of dozens of the creatures.
Rumours that the trade was to resume circulated after fishermen near the islands' capital, Honiara, caught four live dolphins earlier this year.
In June the US-based animal rights group Earth Island Institute wrote to the prime minister, Manasseh Sogavare, saying such a move would be cruel and environmentally damaging. In reply, the prime minister challenged welfare groups to provide evidence that dolphins were endangered in the Solomons, and claimed American fishing vessels killed more than 50,000 dolphins every year.
The fisheries minister said yesterday that exports would resume once the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites) approved the move. Cites does not list bottlenose dolphins as an endangered species.
Humane Society International, another group that is opposed to the resumption of the exports, said wild-caught dolphins suffered stress and often refused to eat following capture. They were kept in pens in shallow water, and forced to eat dead fish. It added that many died while, or even before, being transported to their new homes.
A spokeswoman called dolphin exports a "clear exploitation of the islands' natural resources", and urged tourists to stop patronising dolphin shows at marine parks in protest.
A study by the Marine Mammal Inventory Report (MMIR) estimated recently that as many as 40% per cent of dolphins in shows at marine parks came from the wild.
Related articles on Dolphins, whales and other cetaceans and large fishes.
|News articles are reproduced for non-profit educational purposes.|
website©ria tan 2003 www.wildsingapore.com