Over 1,000 dolphins killed by villagers of a remote
Solomon island in conservation dispute
Up to 900 dolphins killed
January 24, 2013 - via The Guardian
Villagers in the Solomon Islands have slaughtered up to 900 dolphins in the course of a dispute with a conservation group, Earth Island Institute.
Accounts of the dispute vary. The islanders say the Berkeley-based conservation group failed to pay them, as agreed, for stopping the traditional hunt. Earth Island says the slaughter was the work of a "renegade group" trying to sabotage conservation work.
What is clear, however, is that a misunderstanding between the villagers and Earth Island has resulted in one of the worst cases of dolphin slaughter in the Solomon Islands for some time, and delivered a huge setback to conservation efforts in a world "hot spot" for the dolphin trade.
The Solomon Islands were notorious among conservationists as a source of live dolphins for sea aquariums in China and Dubai. A captive dolphin sells for up to $150,000.
"We are very very disappointed," said David Phillips, who oversees international dolphin protection efforts for Earth Island. "This is a tragedy. It's bad for dolphins. It's bad for the community. It's bad for the Solomon Islands as a nation to have this blot on the record."
Earth Island had been working with islanders of Malaita for two years to try to stop the hunt. The islanders' account, which was aired by Australian broadcasting, accused the conservation group of failing to live up to a deal to pay up to $400,000 to people in the village of Fanalei, to stop the dolphin hunt. The villagers said they received barely a third of the promised funds before the money dried up.
Atkin Fakaia, a community leader now living in the capital, Honiara, told Radio Australia the disillusioned Fanalei villagers had gone back to hunting when the money did not come in.
"The issue of them going back fishing for and killing dolphins was on the understanding that Earth Island had been reluctant to pay the agreed amount that was due to the community," he said. "They were just disappointed and dissatisfied over the attitude of Earth Island."
Phillips said the causes of the dispute were far more complicated – although he did not dispute the charge villagers in Fanalei had not seen the money they were expecting. Under the agreement, funds were supposed to be paid out as small grants for community projects in the village, and for income generating efforts. However, Phillips said villagers living in the capital had seized control of the funds, and had not distributed the money.
"The renegade group grabbed funds that were supposed to go to the community and that resulted in a lot of the discord," he said. "In our view there are proper charges of corruption in what has happened in the community."
Phillips said the conservation group was still working with two other villages on the island, and hoped to resolve the dispute with the people of Fanalei. Fakaia told Australia radio the dispute would now likely end up in court.
At least 300 more dolphins slaughtered
January 26, 2013 - via www.stuff.co.nz
At least 300 more dolphins have been slaughtered in a remote Solomon Islands village in the last day or two with locals saying they will continue doing it until March.
In the last week, about 1000 dolphins, including 240 calves, were killed by Fanalei village on Malaita in what is partly a row with an American environmental group who were paying them not to kill, and a resurgence of a long customary tradition of killing dolphins for their teeth.
Fanalei is the main supplier of dolphin teeth used as bride payment around the Solomon Islands.
Listen also to an interview on Radio Australia
and please read also the following statement taken from
Ric O'Barry's website
January 22, 2013 by Mark Palmer, Save Japan Dolphins
Earth Island Institute’s International Marine Mammal Project decries the senseless killing of wild dolphins the Solomon Islands. Three years ago, our organization reached agreement with three villages in the Solomons to stop the slaughter of dolphins. We have since provided those villages with funding to help needed infrastructure rebuilding, pay schools fees for the children, and otherwise help the villagers. In accordance with our agreement, we have pledged additional funding to the villagers for more projects of this nature.
We stand behind the efforts we have made to convince the Solomon Islands tribal communities that the killing of dolphins should end. Many of the community members have seen that the killing of dolphins for teeth and food is not in their best interests. We continue to also work for the development of sustainable and Dolphin-Safe tuna fishing activities in the Solomons and believe that this can bring jobs and sustainable development.
The killing of dolphins and the capture of dolphins for the international blood dolphin$ captive trade are not sustainable.
The fault for the sudden decision to kill dolphins lies with a disparate group from one community, Fanalei, who broke from the consensus we have built around ending the dolphin killing. Many in this very community we helped are furious over these renegades. They have welcomed our support and recognize that the killing of dolphins is unnecessary and should not take place.
The story is even more complex. The Solomon Island captive dolphin traders, who continue to make millions of dollars on the blood trade in dolphins, have been the biggest opponents of the end of the Solomon Islands dolphin kills. They have claimed they are "saving" dolphins by capturing them instead of letting them be killed -- just like the captive dolphin traders do in Taiji, Japan. In fact, they are simply taking advantage of the local people to capture a few dolphins for the international trade, in which they can make as much as $150,000US per captive dolphin sold to dolphinariums in China, the Middle East, or the Caribbean. They oppose Earth Island’s efforts to end the capture of wild dolphins for international trafficking, and they criticize our efforts to end the slaughter of dolphins in the Solomon Islands. There are reasons to believe there is corruption at work, and the dolphin captivity forces are behind this tragic resumption of the dolphin kill.
We continue to face tremendously difficult forces in the Solomon Islands: Dolphin traders, government corruption, failure to recognize the precarious status of dolphin populations in the region, and huge money being paid by outside forces to prop up and continue the dolphin trade at the expense of the ocean environment and the people of the Solomon Islands.
We stand behind our Solomons representative Lawrence Makili's efforts to continue to fight for a future for the Solomon Islands that prohibits the killing of dolphins and the capture and trade in live dolphins.