Businessman wants dolphin exports to resume

26/05/2013

Solomon Islands businessman Robert Satu wants to restart his dolphin exports business.<!--more-->

A moratorium is in place against the trade of dolphins after worldwide protests following the export of some 28 wild dolphins from Solomon Islands waters to a Middle East super luxury hotel in 2007.

That year’s export raised fears among conservationists because it could boost demand for the intelligent cetaceans from other parts of the world. A spokesman of the Solomon Islands-based company that exported the dolphins then had said that the business had “the potential to outdo tuna.”

But the Solomon Islands government stopped the export trade of dolphins bowing to international pressure, a suit was filed against it for the action and the Government subsequently lost the case in the country’s courts. Mr Satu has sought compensation from the Government for “losses” owing to the ban.

The Government, however, has countered saying the businessman owes the national exchequer millions by way of unpaid taxes. There is a separate case in the courts on this count.

US-based conservation group the Earth Island Institute’s Lawrence Makili has said it would be difficult to export dolphins while a moratorium on the trade exists. “He will not be able to export, the Ministry of Fisheries will not grant him a license to export,” he was quoted as saying in the Solomon Islands media last week. “There is still a need to conduct a thorough scientific study on the stock of dolphins in Solomon Islands, and that is still a long way off.”