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Last Updated:[23-08-2010 02:02:58 EDT] Zoom in Zoom out Back to Tradenews

Dolphin Exports from Solomons Invite Protest – Trader Defends Sale

tradenews The dolphin trading by one of the Solomon Islands' exporter has not gone well with a leading animal right organization. Solomons dolphin activist Lawrence Makili who is the Earth Island Institute's Pacific Regional Director has told AAP that despite the institute's tireless efforts to end the live trade, one dolphin dealer had retarded the momentum.

But Francis Chow, a local businessman who is blamed for restraining and stressing out eight dolphins in a tiny shallow pool for six months informed that his park was neither killing nor breaking any laws on dolphin trade rather exporting them to marine parks in Australia or the US. In response to the protest, Chow said the hypocrite protestors should stop driving Japanese cars, and should harass the Japanese whalers.

However, Chow seemed to be unaware of the fact the people behind the protest played a part to delay Japanese dolphin or whaling hunt last season. Renowned dolphin activist and member of Earth Island Institute's Marine Mammal Team Ric O'Barry along with his son Lincoln O'Barry exposed the world to the shocking truth of slaughter of thousands of dolphins in Japan in an award winning documentary called 'The Cove' last year.

Despite opposition from both the Australian and New Zealand governments, Solomons dolphins are captured and sold to aquariums, marine parks and even hotels around the world, often fetching as much as $200,000. The Earth Island Institute's effort to stop dolphin trade is believed to have converted the so-called 'Darth-Vader' of the Solomons’ dolphin trade, the Canadian Chris Porter from a seller to a savior.

Makili said the Solomons government once banned the trade but now, in the pursuit of much-needed revenue, ignored directives by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Though Solomons government allows about 50 from the earlier quota of 100 dolphins, the CITES recommends just 10 numbers.

Some Solomon Islanders still hunt dolphins for food and use their teeth for traditional 'shell money' but since 2003 they have also been hunted to exploit the lucrative live export market. The documentary ‘The Cove’ had exposed the senseless annual slaughter of approximately 20,000 dolphins at the remote Taiji, Japan.

The O'Barry father-son combine is showcasing another mini-series on massive ecological crimes happening worldwide. The Animal Planet on August 27, 2010 would be airing a three-part mini-series titled "Blood Dolphins", and would highlight how the tiny nation of nearly 1,000 islands in the South Pacific has emerged as a major challenge in the blood trade of wild dolphins.

By Jose Roy

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