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Solomon Dolphin Exporters To EII: “We Work Sustainably”

I would like to respond to Mark Berman’s article in the Solomon Star No. 3891, dated 24/03/09 to clarify my part on certain issues raised so that the public are not misled.

According to the tone of Berman’s article, both the Solomon Islands Government and the two Dolphin Exporting companies were critically criticized. 

I was so surprised that even though Mark was not present at the forum, he seemed to hear and see things as it was broadcasted live on TV ONE NEWS.  Anyway, he has an advocator in Solomon Islands.

Firstly, as a Solomon Islander operating my business in Solomon Islands, I have satisfied the requirements desired by CITES and MFMR on dolphin exports. 

The present government policy of Solomon Islands focus on the livelihoods and food security through and by the harvesting of the marine resources of the country sustainably thus the Total Allowable Catch (TAC) of dolphins was set at 100 dolphins per annum by the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources (MFMR), and not by Dr Defran. 

However, he is respected as one of the qualified cetaceans internationally.

Since the establishment of my Company I paid millions of dollars in custom duties directly to the Solomon Islands Government on exports and the purchases of equipment and materials. 

Additionally, the employment of Solomon Islanders and providing market to fishermen to support immediate family’s livelihood.

The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Meteorology (MECM), who was also the Chairman of the forum, allocated five minutes for each speaker to address their concerns or make points during the forum, therefore, there was no imbalance or biased time given to Mr. Makili rather than the local exporters, as claimed by Mark.

On the issue of dolphin feeds, for sure, the dolphins were fed with dead fish that are well stored in freezers but are of high quality. 

Any fish that meant for dolphins were usually checked and approved by a qualified veterinary, you yourself even eat dead fish and worse still human beings at times chose between a rotten fish and a fresh fish for consumption.

The sale of Premier Park SeaWorld in the US, as stated by Mark was not due to dry up business but was meant to continue the business by any interested person who wants to make profits let alone their own explanation.

Dolphin is exploited by other countries as well, why are Mark Berman and his associates not paying attention to countries like Peru and Sweden, who are his neighbors that also hunt dolphins for food, but then so concerned about the traditional practices and rural livelihoods of the people of Solomon Islands?

Japan on the other hand, as we all know hunts whales and exports dolphins. 

They are now saying stuff anti–whaling we are going back to tradition and culture.
Japan is still a major player in markets around the world regardless of what Earth Islands thinks. 

I do not see what effect the mentioned movie will have on Japan.  Earth Island is just out of Japan’s league.  Tell the world not to buy products from Japan, make it fair on all of us.

What alternative livelihoods can Earth Island Institute suggest or give to the people to supplement and support their daily living? 

Secondly, who are they to intervene and blocked the export of tuna from a proposed tuna factory in Malaita? 

Thirdly, how about Earth Island’s experience in taking care of KEIKO, the most famous killer-whale in history that ended up dying in their care by not feeding him and get him released faster?

Are you (Mr. Mark Berman) aware that the dolphin count caught on Drift-net fishing in USA alone adds up to approximately 60,000+ in a year? 

This is USA alone and yet Mr. Berman chose to ignore this. USA is also one of the major players in the tuna industry.

Remember, we need to conserve and protect our fisheries and marine resources but more importantly, we must benefit from using them through sustainable practices. 

To me it is better to support one another through dialogue rather than continuous attacking under unknown agenda. 

Finally with the above explanation on my part, I call this subject to rest.