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Mark Berman: Solomon Dolphin Forum A Farce

I would like to comment extensively regarding the so-called Dolphin Forum and its failed attempt to appear transparent on this issue on the part of the government.

It is very obvious that this forum was to be biased from the beginning and a farce.

First, I was invited after the Minister of Environment knew I had left the Solomon Islands.

I had provided a large number of important documents on Monday, March 9 to the minister’s office for review.

In these documents were opposition letters from the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) stating that the capture and exports of tursiops from Solomons was not based on sound science despite the claim from Dr Defran.

Maybe Dr. Defran is a Phd from San Diego State Univ. but that does not give him the sole credential to state it is fine and dandy to capture and export 100 dolphins per year.

The National Marine Fisheries Service and the Marine Mammal Commission of the US would certainly oppose this abuse.

In fact there have been no captures of dolphins in US waters since 1989.   It is also interesting that Dr Defran is funded by Kerzner International.

This is the same company that bought the 28 dolphins for Kerzner's dolphin amusement park in Dubai.

So where is the peer review and fair and non- biased science for the dolphin capture and exports?

It does not exist.  How many environmental NGOs and marine scientists can be quoted as supporting this absurd notion that dolphins can be captured and exported as if they were reef fish?

Did the forum discuss that Mexico, the first customer of Solomon dolphins has since banned the import of marine mammals?

Was it discussed that 16 of those 28 sent to Mexico are dead?  How about the fact that 5 are already reported dead in Dubai?

And the fact that the last 18 shipped to Philippines are not staying in that country, but moving to Singapore for a resort that any normal Solomon Islander or US citizen for that matter could not afford?

It has also been confirmed that Thailand will NOT allow imports of dolphins, from Solomon Islands or any other country.

If Safari World is indeed working with Francis Chow, then this park will not be allowed the import of dolphins per confirmation I have received from the Government of Thailand.

The fact that the numbers of  the dolphin dealers were present at the forum and given unlimited time to speak while  Lawrence Makili of Earth Island Institute was given a very limited time to speak shows the government's true colours on this issue as biased and driven by the potential profits only by capturing and exporting the dolphins of the Solomon Islanders, not the select few who claim them for their own greedy profits.

The attacks on Mr Makili and myself (even though I am not present) by the dolphin dealers sends the message that we are threatening their money making scheme.

We will continue to do so.

The dolphin trade is  nothing but a 20th century wildlife destruction practice that is doomed to fail as more people are aware worldwide of how dolphins are being abused in this industry.

Japan is the only other country which allows this atrocity toward dolphins, and is soon to be exposed in a large scale feature film this summer.

Once the darkness is lifted from the secrets of these people who destroy dolphins for profit, their markets will dry up.

If the two dolphin exporting companies in the Solomon Islands are transparent, then why is it that Lawrence Makili and I are threatened if we attempt to view the dolphins held?

What are these two dolphin dealing companies trying to hide??  This insidious business is one that is like any wildlife trade, done in secret with threats to anyone who opposes it.

On another note, the party that claims that Earth Island has no clout in the world tuna industry, think again.
Earth Island works with 95 percent of the world canned tuna market to certify it is dolphin safe.

We have done this third party certification for 20 years.

The relationship is driven by consumers in the US, Canada, EU, Thailand, Australia and New Zealand and other markets.

Dolphin safe is the law in US and this is under Earth Island guidelines.

I can  assure your readers that the new proposed cannery in Malaita will have no markets without Dolphin Safe tuna accreditation.

In fact, the tuna technical consultant Don Hosokawa who is working with Getax regarding this proposed cannery has stated the dolphin issue must be dealt with first.

A twenty million US dollar investment in a tuna plant needs customers.

We are willing to work with this cannery, but the government of Solomons and Malaita must first figure the long term benefit here, dolphin safe tuna, or a few dolphin exports that will certainly end as more people learn the true nature of the disgusting capture and brutal trade in live dolphins.

Our job is to educate people to boycott parks with dolphins and show them the brutality of capturing them, sticking them in small pens , feeding them dead fish, and then if they survive ship them on a plane to some unknown habitat that is not their own.

These dolphin parks are now fading in the US and EU as more of them close or consolidate.

The so called premier park Sea World in the US which is just a fancy dolphin prison is now for sale due to the lack of tourism and the lack of people who want to pay $65.00 US per person to see dolphins jump through hoops.

The NGO community is not going away on this issue.  As long as the dolphin abuse continues by the greed of a few, our campaign of exposing the truth continues until this trade ends once and for all.