Dolphin slaughter affecting Solomon Islands tourism

Campbell Cooney and Sam Bolitho Radio Australia 30 Jan 13;

A Solomon Islands tourism operator has called on the government to take urgent steps to resolve a dispute that has led to the killing of dolphins.

A Solomon Islands tourism operator has called on the government to take urgent steps to resolve a dispute that has led to the slaughter of dolphins.

Earlier this month, Fanalei village on Malaita Island captured and killed 700 dolphins after falling out with US conservation group, the Earth Island Institute.

The dispute was over money the villagers say they were owed, in return for foregoing their annual hunt.

Another 300 animals have since been killed, with the villagers saying the slaughter will continue until they get their money.

Dive operator, Danny Kennedy, says the dispute is affecting tourism to the country and it is up to the government to end it.

"They should be looking to do something within the next few days, fly in somebody from the Ministry of Conservation, maybe the general manager of the tourism authority to go out there and talk to them and try to quell the slaughter."

The chairman of the village's representative association in Honiara, Atkin Fakaia, says they are not talking yet.

"They have the negative attitude towards us for the slaughters over a week ago," he said.

The institute says it has provided all the money it promised but the Honiara-based villagers are not passing it on.

The kill has led to a stand-off in Fanalei, with the chief there criticising it, and then being removed from his position for his words.

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