Sunday, 17 June 2007 10:00 AM

PM Asks for More Evidence on Dolphin Issue

Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has made it clear that his government will need more than just international condemnation for it to ban the live exportation of dolphins.

"For now I want proven scientific findings of arguments put forward by those that oppose the exportation of dolphin," said Sogavare. "At this point in time I am not yet convinced of the arguments put forth by those against it."

Sogavare said that there are enough domestic laws to protect the illegal exportation of dolphins. "I can only go by the laws of this country, the law prohibits the export of dolphins illegally and there is hefty fine of SB$100,000 to those that do it illegally," said Sogavare.

Reliable sources have stated that the person in the centre of the row is known to have a valid license for the exportation of marine life, which may also include dolphins. "I take it that the statement by the PM means that if it is done legally then it is ok," stated one concerned local environmentalist.

What is more worrying to these environmentalists is the fact that the Solomon Islands fisheries minister has recently expressed his full support for the resumption of controversial live dolphin exports. Fisheries Minister Nollen Leni has reportedly told Naomi Rose of the Humane Society International in the United States that the killing of dolphins was part of Solomon's culture and exporting them live could earn money for the country.

Mr Leni also alleged that advanced countries such as the US also catch and sell dolphins to entertainment parks. Trained dolphins can fetch up to 30-thousand US dollars or more on the world market to entertain crowds at aquatic parks.

Environmentalists groups worldwide have maintained that they are watching developments closely warning of dire consequences to the economy of Solomon Islands if these dolphins are allowed to leave our shores.

Letters to the Editor All Letters
By STEVE BANI Vura Heights, East Honiara
By GEOFFREY MAURIASI USP, Lacuala Campus, Fiji
By CHARLES KOULI Gizo, Western Province