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Dolphin Traders Accusing US Fleet Killing 60,000 Dolphins Is Misinformation

In response to the article Solomon Dolphin Exporters to EII: “We Work Sustainably” published on atuna.com on March 31st  2009  - Laurence Makili, City Councilor of Earth Island Institute (EII) pushes back the allegations made by the dolphin traders regarding the sustainability of their activity in Solomon Island.

LETTER TO EDITOR

Response to Francis Chow

Dear Editor - I would appreciate space to reply to the mis-information spread by the dolphin catcher Francis Chow.  First, it is he who is terrorizing dolphins and destroying their families, not those of us at Earth Island, or any other NGO.   Mark Berman was not present as the letter announcing the Forum was delivered to us the Monday after he departed for dolphin safe tuna audits in Thailand.


The claim that Mr. Chow has satisfied CITES is far from the truth.   The IUCN which is the body advising CITES has stated more than once, the dolphin exports must cease due to the lack of population data. Mexico violated CITES when it received 28 dolphins (of which 16 are DEAD) , and have now placed a ban on the import of marine mammals.

Dr. Defran has a serious conflict of interest. He claims that his dolphin abundance study is funded by Kerzner International.  If so, this is the same as the fox guarding the henhouse!  Kerzner International is the same company that bought the 28 dolphins in October of 2007 for Kerzners dolphin amusement park in Dubai.   Dr. Defran  would not be able to conduct such work which allows dolphin captures in his own country, so he comes here to do this for Kerzner so that there is a supply of dolphins to Kerzners casinos.  This is a clear bias to allow 100 dolphins per year to be captured without knowing how many dolphins are in these waters, and these dolphins are not owned by Chow, Defran, Kerzner nor anyone else. They are part of the Solomon Islands heritage of wildlife.

Dead fish regardless of quality is not the diet for dolphins. In the wild, dolphins catch and eat fresh fish daily. In the pens they are bored, and become ill with the dead fish that must have vitamins and other medicines inserted into the stomachs for the dolphins to eat and get nutrients.  Why does Mr. Chow not tell the whole story? Why does he refuse access to his dolphin prison for others to see?

It is confirmed that Sea World USA is up for sale and losing millions of dollars due to tourism. It has been reported that at least one or more of the parks may close.  Even if there is a buyer, the parks will eventually close due to the fact that dolphin captures are not legal in US, and the fact that the breeding is not Sustainable to keep the stocks at Sea World in large numbers.  The industry of capturing and imprisoning dolphins and whale is one that is dying. People are now aware of the brutality toward dolphins and whales by Solomon Islands, Japan, and Norway.  (NOT SWEDEN!) and Norway does not allow any captures of dolphins.  Japan will be exposed to the world this summer with a feature film ³THE COVE² which shows the dark secret of Japans disgusting brutality in the Taiji dolphin hunts.  This film will be in theaters worldwide and could very well close the dolphin trade in that country due to the government being exposed for its complicit to the killing.

In reply to Mr. Chows claim that US tuna boats kill 60,000 dolphins per year, this is absurd. IF it were the case the tuna sales in the US would have collapsed long ago.  There are no US tuna boats fishing on dolphin to catch tuna.  Where is the proof to this allegation?

The claim that Keiko, star of Free Willy died in vain is also an untruth. It was the likes of Sea World type parks that captured Keiko at age 2 from his family in Iceland and sold him to a park in Mexico. The film allowed millions of people to become aware of the plight of orcas and other dolphins and this secured bans on captures in many parts of the world.  Keiko was moved to his natural habitat in 1998 and lived a full five years in the wild mingling with other orcas. We did NOT capture any dolphins or other whales, we gave Keiko his freedom, and proved it could be done. While on the other hand people like Mr. Chow are destroying the lives of dolphins enslaving them to do stupid tricks for dead fish.  Who is on the side of being right here?!

Earth Island stands by its work on the dolphin safe tuna issue and also the issue of fighting against those that destroys dolphins’ lives for profit. The dolphin trade is on its last breath and in time we will see this insidious business end.  We stand by our work with Soltai and Trimarine which are in the dolphin safe and dolphin free Western Province.  If the new cannery proposed in Malaita is to enjoy the dolphin safe tuna exports it needs, then Malaita and the Central Government will have to change its attitude toward dolphins.  Mr. Don Hosokawa, tuna consultant to Getax has already stated that this cannery must be dolphin safe to export canned tuna or loins.