Fishing industry defends Solomons tuna industry from dolphin concerns | Pacific Beat

Fishing industry defends Solomons tuna industry from dolphin concerns

Fishing industry defends Solomons tuna industry from dolphin concerns

Updated 25 January 2013, 10:25 AEDT

The Solomon Islands' tuna industry has been defended against claims its dolphin friendly standing is at risk.

The defence follows the capture and slaughter of around 700 dolphins on Malaita Island this week by a village unhappy it had not received payments from the Earth Island Institute conservation group to forego their traditional hunting practises.

The slaughter has led to allegation and claims by the village and the institute over the payment and where it ended up.

As well there have been concerns raised that the kill will affect the dolphin-friendly status of the Solomons' industry, essential to allow exports into the EU.

But the Parties to the Nauru agreement organisation, which monitors fishing limits and compliance says the two issues are completely different.

The organisation's director, Dr Transform Aqorau, spoke to Pacific Correspondent Campbell Cooney.

The Solomon Islands has just taken on the chairmanship role with the PNA.

Presenter: Campbell Cooney

Speaker:The Director of the Parties to the Nuaru Agreement organisation Dr Transform Aqorau


AQORAU: As far as I know Campbell the Solomon Islands tuna industry, both the foreign fishing boats that are fishing in Solomon Islands and the local domestic industry are dolphin-free industry, they have no dolphin mortality associated with the tuna fishery in Solomon Islands. This is verified through observers that are on those fishing boats. They don't catch dolphins in association with tuna. So the traditional harvest that has been started by the Fanalei villagers on Malaita have got nothing to do with the tuna industry, that is purely traditional fisheries that they have been doing for the past 100 or so years. And they've decided to reignite what has been a traditional practice.

COONEY: I don't think there's any allegations or concerns that any of the dolphins killed in this village is going to end up in tuna product. I think the feeling is that it doesn't make for a good look for Solomon Islands, that this is going on over there, that around the world people hear about that number of dolphins being captured and killed and it just alarms them. They may not know the reasons for it, they may not know that it's a traditional hunt, but it would just alarm many who are perhaps in the markets where some of that tuna is going to end up?

AQORAU: I'd like to think that the only reason why this has got publicity is because it's alleged that they're doing it because Earth Island Institute has stopped paying them, and they have their own reasons. And I'm not really familiar with the politics of the Earth Island Institute and the traditional. But look they've been doing this for the last 100 or so years. And secondly, I think if Earth Island and the villages can sort out their differences that would be good. I think the market needs to differentiate between what is basically an internal fight between Earth Island Institute and some indigenous practices in Solomon Islands. I'm surprised, I thought the Earth Island Institute core mandate was dolphin mortality associated with tuna fishing. But obviously they've branched out and gone into tuna generally, and if that was the case then surely there should be an outrage, a similar sort of outrage for dolphins that are kept in captivity in other parts of the world, and I'm just surprised that a number of dolphins that were caught and I think sold from, really exported from the Philippines, Solomon Islands dolphins are nothing, not even a whisper was made about those dolphins.

COONEY: From your experience as a Solomon Islands man is that number that is killed, is that typical when that traditional hunt goes on? It does seems like a lot?

AQORAU: Yeah I think traditional dolphin hunting does take a fair bit. But it only happens once a year, usually around the beginning of the year. And no one has really taken any notice of the numbers that have been taken in the past.

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