22 Jan 2009

Consultant notes dolphin question in Solomons tuna plan

6:45 pm on 22 January 2009

A tuna cannery consultant says Solomon Islands has great potential in the cannery industry, but he has reservations over whether the tuna could be certified as dolphin safe.

Don Hosokawa of US based Tuna Tech has worked with many canneries in the Pacific region and says there's a huge potential for a successful cannery operation in Malaita province.

He says he would provide the necessary technical expertise to set up any potential cannery and Getax Australia would be looking to fund it.

But Mr Hosokawa says certifying the tuna for marketing purposes in countries like the United States, the European Union, Australia or New Zealand could prove difficult.

"One of the answers that has to be overcome though is that the tuna must be considered dolphin safe which requires certification of Earth Island. And I don't know any background or history of that going on in the Solomon Islands but in order to market the tuna, canned tuna or loin tuna on an international basis, it must be certified as dolphin safe in order to sell to all the major markets."

Don Hosokawa says a variety of landowners were fully supportive of the idea, and more talks with officials are likely to be the next step.