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HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Nov. 17) – An international environmental group has praised the government for taking the right decision to gazette its ban on dolphin export.

Earth Island Institute, which has been lobbying against dolphin export, said the decision is very vital because it opens the door for Solomon Islands to export its tuna to foreign markets.

EII’s Associate Director of International Marine Mammal Project Mark Berman said already major importers of tuna have decided against importing tuna from the Solomons because it allows for the export of dolphins.

EII has been working hard with Sultan to convince the government to put an end to export of dolphins.

Mr Berman said many countries don’t want to buy tuna where dolphin is exploited.

He said given that tuna is a big business here, the country stands to lose millions of dollars if the government does not ban the export of tuna.

"I am pleased that the government will now gazette the ban," Mr Berman told the Solomon Star yesterday.

Solomon Islands earns $100m in tuna exports a year.

Mr Berman said certainly the gazetting of the export ban open new markets for the country’s tuna.

Meanwhile the American said the good thing about exporting tuna is it benefits the country whilst the dolphin just only a few.

At the same time they also exploit them, added Mr Berman.

Solomon Islands was at the centre of attention after it exported a number of dolphins to Mexico two years ago.

Recent reports said 40 more dolphins were supposed to be exported on Tuesday.

The government has denied the reports which were in fact untrue.

Mr Berman urges Solomon Islands Marine Mammal Education Centre to release the dolphins it currently kept at Gavutu.

He said they would like to see those dolphins freed.

Friday, November 18, 2005

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