The intention by the government to lift the ban on the export of live dolphins has brought about concern from IUCN, a technical body within CITES.

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) is an international agreement between governments. Its aim is to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), which is a technical arm of CITES, stated that the vulnerability of local island dolphin populations to large-scale removal requires accurate information, not only on the numbers taken, but also on locations hunted for management purposes.

The group said that based on their past observations, it is difficult to make any worthwhile assessments of the population level and the effects of the removal of bottle-nose dolphins from the country.

"Accordingly, we advise that without any reliable data on the numbers and populations structure of bottlenose dolphins in this region, it is impossible to make credible judgement about the impacts of this level of exploitation," concluded the team.

The Group maintains that the conclusion they reached in 2003, that a non detriment finding under CITES is not possible, given the lack of data, still remains. The Group stated that, as such, exports should not take place.

Meanwhile, local environmentalist and now City Councillor, Lawrence Makili, said that previous statements by the Minister for Fisheries, Nollen Leni, on the export of live dolphins being approved by CITES is misleading.

Mr. Makili said that what the Minister has said is directly opposite to what the team of experts had profoundly concluded, and that is, our species should be protected by our Government.