Solomon Islands export dolphins to Dubai

Wednesday, 17 October, 2007
Solomon Islands, UAE
Today 30 live Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins left the Solomon Islands on Emirates chartered cargo planes bound for dolphinariums in Dubai. By permitting the export, the Government of the Solomon Islands breaks the ban they imposed in January 2005 – a ban introduced ‘to ensure Solomon Islands maintains its good standing in the international community’ after widespread international outcry to the export of 28 dolphins to Mexico in 2003.
“This export should not have taken place.  It undermines the good reputation that the Solomon Islands Government has built up since taking the decision to ban the export of live dolphins in 2005.  We implore the Government to reinstate that ban immediately for the sake of the Solomon Island’s precious marine wildlife and their standing on the international stage,” Mick McIntyre, Director of IFAW Asia Pacific, said.
Recent research by IFAW has shown that the diversity of both whale and dolphin species in waters of the Solomon Islands means there is significant potential for a whale-watching tourism industry based upon viewing these animals in their natural environment. The industry has only emerged in the last few years yet the number of people now going whale or dolphin watching in the Solomon Islands is estimated to be growing at 14 per cent a year -  very strong growth for any tourism sector.
“Dolphins do not belong in captivity.  Whale and dolphin watching is a valuable and growing industry across the Pacific Islands region.  We encourage the Solomon Islands Government to seize the opportunity and invest in developing a sustainable industry based upon watching these wild creatures in the wild, rather than taking a short sighted decision to export live animals - a decision that may undermine tourism potential in the country,” Mr McIntyre said.
The Solomon Islands has been a strong participant in a range of regional conservation activities and this action jeopardizes their regional leadership standing.

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