19 Oct 2007

Solomons government defends resumption of dolphin exports

5:32 pm on 19 October 2007

The Solomon Islands government has defended the decision to lift the ban on live dolphin exports in light of criticism from animal welfare groups.

About 30 live dolphins were flown from the Solomons to Dubai this week, after a last ditch legal effort by an environmental group to stop the flight failed.

The Minister of Fisheries Nollen Leni says his government has never broken any laws to sell dolphins overseas.

He says the exporting company followed the investment regulations of Solomon Islands when it set up its dolphin training facilities at Gavutu Island.

Mr Leni says the courts have ruled in favour of the company twice when animal welfare groups pressured the government to block the lucrative trade.

He says arguments based on the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species are baseless, as the convention is merely a set of principles, not laws.

Mr Leni says each dolphin is worth about two hundred thousand U-S dollars in the Dubai market.