A Questionable Trade
It is an issue that has polarized environmentalists and has enticed buyers, as well as been a very lucrative part of the economy of the Solomon Islands: the trade in captured dolphins.
Since it began in 2003, the trade- which offers up dolphins captured in Solomon Islands waters to buyers around the world- has been the center of moral and legal debates throughout the world. The government, for its part, is sticking to the trade, but also making sure it is done in a sustainable and humane way- and is pinning its hopes on a major forum in late March to help alleviate concerns and allow all parties to have a say in how the business is regulated. An announcement on the forum said, "There has been so much media publicity done on this issue by different interest groups in recent years and the forum offers us the opportunity to come together and present this information while everyone is present."
There is no doubt that the business is booming. As the Sydney Morning Herald reported, 28 Solomons dolphins were purchased by a resort in Dubai in 2007, and 28 dolphins were shipped to Mexico in 2004. Most recently, a shipment of dolphins was purchased for a resort in Singapore. Despite the profits, the publicity is rarely positive. Environmental groups as well as the governments of Australia and New Zealand have condemned the sales. It remains to be seen if a forum- an olive branch to critics- will help to stem some of the concerns and criticism surrounding the practice.
-Equatorial Press Staff Report. Photo by mjwinoz/Flickr.