AR-News: FW: Developments on dolphin capture

melanie mjartisian at
Tue Jul 22 21:31:26 EDT 2003

> In a sudden move, even before we could find out more details, the company
> shipped the dolphins to Cancun, Mexico, and they will arrive in
> Cancun, Monday 21st. between 9 pm and 3:00 am (local time).
> This is official, confirmed by the inspector in Cancun.

Top Stories - Reuters
Plane Arrives to Carry Captured Solomons Dolphins
Mon Jul 21, 4:28 AM ET

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Reuters) - A cargo plane arrived in the lawless
Solomon Islands Monday to pick up wild dolphins captured to order for a
Mexican syndicate in what activists have blasted as an environmental crime,
regional media reported.

The Australian Associated Press news agency said police in the anarchic
South Pacific nation locked down the capital's airport as the Brasil Air
Cargo DC-10 jet arrived, warning media their cameras would be seized if they
filmed the plane.

It said the chartered aircraft arrived with a hold full of "coffin-like"
containers to collect 33 of around 200 bottlenose South Pacific dolphins
being held in shallow one-meter-deep pens and sold by impoverished local
fishermen for A$400 ($260) a head.

They were destined for an amusement park in the Mexican resort town of
Cancun, environmentalists said.

"I think it's inevitable that we're going to see a number of the dolphins
dying," Nicola Beynon of the Australian branch of Humane Society
International told Reuters Monday.

Australia, which this week leads 2,000 multinational troops and police to
restore order and end ethnic violence in the near-bankrupt Solomons, has
urged Mexico to block the import.

But Mexico, which is a signatory to an international convention banning the
trade in dolphins if it harms the species, has already issued permits to the
Parque Nizuc marine reserve.

"Regrettably we've got a political crisis in the Solomons and we just think
that the entrepreneurs in this case, the traders, are taking advantage of
that and we hope that the Mexican government will realize that," Beynon

The New Zealand government, which is taking part in the Australian-led
peacekeeping force, also expressed deep concern Monday at the mass capture
of the dolphins.

Humane Society International says it is the worst exploitation of wildlife
in decades and an environmental crime. It said the dolphins could be sold
abroad for up to $30,000 each.

In addition to the Mexican buyers, Australian media said potential customers
from Thailand and Taiwan had also traveled to the Solomons recently to
inspect the dolphins.

The trade in live dolphins is governed by the Convention on International
Trade in Endangered Species, which prohibits it if it is detrimental to them
and not subject to proper regulation.

The Solomons, a chain of 1,000 islands 1,800 km (1,200 miles) northeast of
Australia, has not signed up to the convention. Nor does it have a properly
functioning public sector to efficiently oversee such things as export


21/07/2003 17:00:18 | ABC Radio Australia News

Arrests on the arrival of Solomons dolphins jet

Solomon Islands police have arrested an Australian journalist and
photographer, and chased and abused other media filming the arrival of a
cargo jet that's being used for the export of live dolphins.

Our reporter in Honiara, Sean Dorney, says police have tightened security
around the main terminal at the country's only international airport.

He says some of the police at Henderson airport have been very aggressive
and a freelance television team from New Zealand were chased and the
cameraman kicked.

A journalist and photographer from the Sydney Morning Herald were detained
and taken to the police station in Honiara but senior police apologised to
them and let them go.

Last week, an Australian animal welfare group called on the Australian
government to stop the Solomon Islands government from allowing the capture
and sale of dolphins.

The government was told the Solomons Fisheries Department is allowing
dolphins to be caught and put into small pens, before being transported to
Mexico and sold to aquariums.

Australians for Animals says the practice breaches international laws and

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