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Conservationists say tuna canneries won’t invest in country

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, September 30, 2009) – Earth Island Institute says dolphin dealer Chris Porter is misleading the public when he said tuna investment and dolphin trading are two separate issues.

The Institute’s director Mark Berman and his regional associate Lawrence Makili said their organisation is the recognised dolphin safe tuna certifier worldwide for 95 percent of the world’s canned tuna markets.

"Porter's allegations that tuna companies torture dolphins when catching tuna is without any basis with regards to tuna companies that are audited by Earth Island Institute," they said in a statement.

The statement said 95 percent of the world’s markets that are dolphin safe adhere to the Dolphin Safe Policy of Earth Island, which states that no dolphins can be chased, encircled, netted, harmed or killed in tuna fishing operations.

"The policy includes that companies can have no association or dealings in whale killing, dolphin killing, whale meat, dolphin meat, and the live capture and trade in dolphins. Therefore, Malaita and Guadalcanal with their policies allowing the capture and exports of dolphins will make these provinces dolphin unsafe for tuna processing and exports," the organization said.

"Earth Island Institute is in the business to protect dolphins, not exploit them as does the Solomon government and those who capture and trade in live dolphins. The bottom line is that Dong Won owner of Starkist USA, Frabelle, RD Tuna and any other company that is dolphin safe with Earth Island’s policy will not invest in Guadalcanal or Malaita until these provinces end this disgusting trade in live dolphins."

The statement said Earth Island has every right to work to protect dolphins in this manner.

"A company may choose to build a factory in Guadalcanal or Malaita, but would be faced with boycotts of their tuna as the factory is complicit with the provincial government by paying taxes and knowing full well of the live dolphin trade."

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