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EII Connects New Tuna Cannery Setup With Dolphin Trade

The possible set up of a new tuna cannery in the province of Malaita, Solomon Island, could be causing some controversy.

According to Mr. Mark Berman of the dolphin protection group Earth Island Institute the Malaita region is known for dolphin capture and trade to water parks around the world. Even though this depletive practice is in no way related to tuna fishing, the possibility of a tuna cannery in the area was enough to put Earth Island Institute (EII) on alert.

The director of EII’s international Dolphin Safe Tuna Monitoring program, Mark Berman, stated that the Institute will not approve such cannery as dolphin safe. He claims that the local authorities are hostile to EII negotiations to stop dolphin fishing, killing and trade and added that “There is no way under the present situation that a cannery in Malaita will be considered dolphin safe”.

Mr. Berman declared that the Western Province of Solomon Island has declared dolphins a protected species and that since there’s no killing or trade of the mammal in that area, canneries belonging to Soltai and Trimarine are still considered dolphin safe.

However, the investors interested in base the new tuna cannery in Malaita don’t really see the association of the local depleting actions towards dolphins to the tuna industry.

A U.S. consultant agency involved in the project - Tuna Tech Services - has held an introductory meeting with tribal landowning representatives of the area last week.

According to Don Hosokawa of Tuna Tech, the cannery proposal is actually fact finding stage only. Nevertheless, Mr. Hosokawa assured that the project will utilize only dolphin safe tuna for its operation: “That has always been my practice”, he finalized.