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Dolphin exports banned by Solomon Islands

Dolphin exports banned by Solomon Islands

The World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) today welcomes the news that the Solomon Islands government has banned live dolphin exports, following a disastrous transfer of almost 30 dolphins to Mexico in July of 2003. Last year, WSPA investigators had discovered over 40 captive dolphins languishing in poor conditions amid rumours of further exports overseas.

WSPA New Zealand Manager Kimberly Muncaster said, “WSPA congratulates the Solomons government on this positive step. WSPA has been lobbying for a ban on dolphin exports since we first arrived in the Solomon Islands in 2003 and uncovered the questionable legal circumstances behind this operation and the horrible conditions the dolphins were kept in. We hope this will be the beginning of further protection for the welfare of marine mammals in the Solomon Islands and set an example for other nations who act as portals for the deplorable dolphin trade.” Kimberly who is based at WSPA’s Auckland office was one of the first on the ground in the Solomons when the exports first happened and has since then been actively involved in campaigning for the ban.

The ‘dolphins for dollars’ scheme was believed to have been the brainchild of foreign business interests, Marine Exports Limited and Solomon Islands Marine Mammal Education Centre Ltd (SIMMEC).

WSPA investigators were in the Solomon Islands in recent months, assessing the conditions of the dolphins still held at SIMMEC's facility, the company behind the operation, and to look into reports that further exports were planned. WSPA remains concerned over the fate of the dolphins still held by SIMMEC.

Muncaster commented, “During our investigation in late 2004, we saw 44 dolphins in conditions which caused us a great deal of concern. The pens were polluted and overcrowded – with as many as 15 dolphins in one small enclosure. Many showed evidence of malnutrition, stress and injury. And we heard further reports from locals that several dolphins had died during the capture process and in SIMMEC’s facilities.”

WSPA opposes, on both ethical and humane grounds, the harassment, capture and killing of marine mammals for commercial purposes. WSPA is calling on the Solomon Islands to take steps to rehabilitate and release the dolphins still held captive in their country.

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