31 Aug 2009

Solomon Islands fisheries minister says no link between dolphin trade and tuna industry

9:48 am on 31 August 2009

Solomon Islands' Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources says there is no link between exporting live dolphins and the country's tuna industry.

Nollen Leni's statement follows a claim by a local environmentalist that the government's stance on the live dolphin trade is preventing it gaining lucrative tuna contracts.

Lawrence Makili of Earth Island Institute maintains the government's preparing to send a batch of live dolphins to Panama and that its ongoing trade in the mammals has stopped two Asian countries from establishing tuna factories in the country.

But Mr Leni says as well as there being no immediate plans to export more live dolphins, doing so should not have implications on the valuable tuna trade.

"That's an issue which people who hate us will do that because they want us not to export dolphins but I think that's inhuman. You tell me how many dolphins are caught in all the purse seine nets, that's a drop in the ocean"