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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center

With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

Solomon’s PM Defends Traditional Dolphin Hunting
Lilo supports seasonal ‘harvesting,’ opposes export of live dolphins

By Jeremy Inifiri

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Feb. 17, 2014) – Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo says the government does not oppose the traditional hunt for wild dolphins.

What it is against is the export of live dolphins overseas.

Mr Lilo clarified this when interviewed for a documentary on dolphin hunting recently shot and documented here in the country by internationally renowned journalist, Drew Ambrose of Aljazeera English Television.

"Dolphin hunting or rather calling of dolphins is indeed a seasonal traditional practice that has been passed from generation to generation especially by our people residing in the Lau Lagoons of Malaita and also Walande and Fanalei Islands," Mr Lilo said.

"We do not see it as hunting dolphins, but more preferably as harvesting dolphins from the wild.

"Basically because the meat and teeth of dolphins are of great importance to our people of Malaita," the prime minister said.

Prime Minister Lilo then explained the importance of dolphin teeth in Malaita custom.

Mr Lilo was also asked if the practice can be stopped or control, especially with activists and researchers reports of the decreasing number of dolphins in the Solomon Island waters.

"The practice is not a day to day thing, it is done seasonally. Our people harvest only within the seasons that are right for hunting dolphins."

Mr Lilo also reaffirmed that the government is not against the people hunting or harvesting dolphins but is against the trafficking and export of live dolphins overseas.

Solomon Star
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