Solomon Island chief hopes to end dolphin harvest

Radio Australia 18 Apr 13;

The deposed chief of the Malaita village which recommenced dolphin slaughters last year, is hopeful he can convince people there to again give up the cultural practise.
Fanalei chief hopes to end dolphin harvest (Credit: ABC)

Last year Fanalei Village on Malaita announced it was recommencing its traditional dolphin harvest and ending a three year old memorandum of understanding with the conservation group, the Earth Island Institute to give up the hunt in return for financial assistance.

A group from the village, mostly based in the capital Honiara, said it had not received the promised funds, leading to allegations that they themselves had squandered all the money, and had not accounted for how it had been used.

In the meantime the village killed well over 500 dolphins, and then sacked the chief Wilson Filei, when he voiced opposition to the hunt.

Now the dolphin season is coming to an end, and with the decision of the Solomon's government to allow the harvest of Beche de Mer, people there are turning their attention to the shellfish harvest.

For his part Chief Wilson is heading home soon and hopes to convince the village to recommit to a dolphin hunting ban.

Presenter: Campbell Cooney

Speaker:Chief Wilson Filei speaking from Honiara

WILSON: Yeah it's nearly go to finish it depends on the weather, so those dolphins that are seen in the harbour are not going out for hunting, especially people just engaging harvesting Beche de Mer.

COONEY: They're harvesting Beche de Mer now, they've moved on from the dolphins?

WILSON: Yes the wind is now coming so the people are not easy to get out for hunting. So they just engage in diving Beche de Mer.

COONEY: What's your status now, have you been reinstated as the Chief?

WILSON: My chieftanship always remain, they say they will out me from my office, but for myself I find no reason why they have to put out from my chieftanship because I inherited from my grandfather. So I always remain the chief of Fanalei.

COONEY: Will you be going back to Fanalei soon?

WILSON: Yes of course, maybe next week I will go back to Fanalei after they stop hunting dolphins.

COONEY: So you are still opposed to the hunt and the breaking of that MOU, is that correct?


COONEY: Do you think that they will listen now to what you have to say when you go back to Fanalei?

WILSON: Yes those people always listen to me, they will not listen to anybody else, they always listen to me. So if I go back in the village I will still maintain my leadership role in the Fanalei community.

COONEY: Will you be discussing renegotiating the MOU?

WILSON: That of course depends on when I go back home to consult my people then maybe we can do some kind of renegotiation again from them, but we have to consult them.

COONEY: Do you feel that the move by Fanalei to continue hunting and to break that MOU, has it affected them in a negative way?

WILSON: Yeah maybe the people of Fanalei they just listened to this Honiara association. Maybe when I get back home I will consult my people and do whatever things we can do with the Earth Island again.

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