Dolphin Traffickers Support Solomon Mass Dolphin Slaughter
Earth Island Institute's International Marine Mammal Project today denounced statements by dolphin traffickers supporting the mass slaughter of dolphins taking place the Solomon Islands.
David Phillips, Director of Earth Island Institute’s Marine Mammal Project stated: “Tragically, dolphin traders stand to make millions by continuing the cruel capture and trade in live dolphins. Supporting the tribal slaughter gives them cover, and also provides a way to get villagers to capture dolphins for them.” Phillips continued: “Dolphin traffickers, including Canadian citizen Christopher Porter and Solomon Islands resident Robert Satu have a long history of bankrolling village captures of dolphins for their lucrative export trade. They have used villagers to capture wild dolphins that sell for up to $150,000 to facilities in China, Singapore, Mexico, and Dubai.”
Satu, on January 31, 2013, put on record his support for slaughtering dolphins in the Solomon Islands stating to Radio New Zealand:
“ I agree with the Honiara based committee from Fanalei to continue on harvesting now. And for me too, I will tell my boys to do a collection.”
Mr. Christopher Porter, a Canadian and partner with Satu in the Solomon Islands Marine Mammal Exports, was reportedly in the Solomon Islands up until just before the dolphin slaughter began in January promoting a new “Research Institute” scheme. His last scheme held captive dolphins for tourism and export.
“As was revealed in the Academy Award-winning documentary The Cove, international dolphin traffickers in Taiji, Japan, take advantage of the local dolphin slaughter to pick out choice dolphins to sell to aquariums around the world,” stated David Phillips. “Funds paid to the dolphin killers subsidize the dolphin slaughter, which would otherwise be largely uneconomic.”
Phillips continued: “Now we have a mass dolphin kill in the Solomon Islands while the lead dolphin trafficker, Satu, provides encouragement and wants to get in on it himself. It is time to investigate whether he, and others opposed to Earth Island’s dolphin protection efforts, are funding the renegade group’s slaughter of dolphins.”
In 2010, Earth Island’s Marine Mammal Project reached agreement with the members of Fanalei tribe and two other villages to stop killing dolphins in exchange for support for sustainability projects to help the villages.
Phillips called claims that the villagers resumed killing dolphins because the Marine Mammal Project failed to provide agreed funding are a “smokescreen”. He continued: “The real story is that a major portion of the funding we provided to Fanalei, was misappropriated by a renegade group that lives in the Solomon Islands capital city of Honiara”. Phillips continued: “The whole tribe agreed that all funding would go to the specific local village in Fanalei, not to tribe members who have left to live and work in Honiara. But the Honiara-based group grabbed the funding and misappropriated it. “ He continued: “They have ignored all requests for accounting for the funds and undertaken a mass dolphin kill in the mistaken view that it would get them more funding.“
Fanalei village chief, Wilson Filei, who on behalf of the tribe, signed the original agreement, maintains that the Honiara-based group took the funds in violation of both the agreement within the tribe and the agreement with Earth Island. See his statements at: http://www.solomonstarnews.com/news/national/17011-300-more-dolphins-slaughtered
The two other villages, Bita’ama and Walende, continue to work cooperatively with Marine Mammal Program. They oppose any resumption of the killing of dolphins
Earth Island categorically rejects the claims by Robert Satu that he was offered funding from the Marine Mammal Project for his captive dolphins. Phillips stated: “This is a ludicrous claim. We have never offered to buy dolphins from him or any other dolphin trafficker, nor would we ever. “ He continued: “We believe the dolphin traffickers are responsible for cruelty, and are a threat to dolphin survival. They bring shame to the Solomon Islands and we have repeatedly pressed for the Solomon Islands government to step in and stop their captures.”