Solomon Island: Proper management plans needed for dolphin

Solomon Star 19 May 12;

PARTICIPANTS of a dolphin workshop held at the Heritage Park Hotel were encouraged to utilize what they learn.

Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources (MFMR) Moses Garu during the official opening of a dolphin seminar, said dolphin is a vital marine resource.

Mr Garu said the government always advocates for sustainable usage of marine resources.

He said a dolphin Assessment and Monitoring Project had been conducted in late 2008 and was a collaborative work between the South Pacific Whale Research(SPWR),Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources (MFMR) and Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Program (SPREP).

He said the aim of the project was to gain healthy scientific socio economic information to increase the understanding of the Solomon island Sea.

“In 2004 Rapid Marine Assessment Program (RMAP) led by the Nature Conservancy (TNC) found out 11 species of cetaceans in Solomon waters.

“It was recommended that thorough and detailed surveys need to be conducted on the local dolphin stocks to determine the accurate status of dolphin population in Solomon Islands waters.”

He however said the status of dolphin population in Solomon Island is unknown and recently the exports have drawn international and regional criticism on the Solomon Island government.

He said that Solomon Island did not apply the precautionary approach to sustainable fisheries to its dolphin stocks, and that was the reason important projects on dolphin stock assessment was funded and implemented.

“Information gathered out of this seminar will enable the development of a national and community dolphin management plan.

“I hope the process by which management plans will be developed is inclusive and covers stakeholders.

The seminar ended yesterday.


Dolphin Exports Unsustainable
It also found that as dolphin populations in the region do not intermingle, individual populations should be managed separately.
Solomon Times 21 May 12;

An independent assessment of Solomon Islands dolphin exports has warned the current quota is unsustainable.

A report by the South Pacific Whale Research Consortium, presented in Honiara says that level of export is way beyond what the population can sustain.

It says the dolphin population in Guadalcanal Province, which has been the biggest source of dolphins for export, may have been depleted by as much as half - and recommend no more than one dolphin should be removed from there every five years.

The report also highlighted the number of dolphins that die during capture before they are exported, and recommended the government base the quota on the number of dolphins captured, rather than the number for export.

It also found that as dolphin populations in the region do not intermingle, individual populations should be managed separately.

The report was presented at a two day workshop in Honiara last week which the Ministry of Environment says will lead to a national management plan for the dolphins.

Meanwhile, at a press conference on the eve of his Asian Tour last Wednesday, Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo said dolphin exports are not totally banned in Solomon Islands as it depends on its population.

When asked if the government is saying it will continue to allow dolphin exports from Solomon Islands, Prime Minister Lilo could not give a straight answer but indicated his government will take action if the mammal's population is at risk.