In the early 2000s, non-native people – international dolphin traffickers – capitalizing on the low incomes in the Solomon Islands and seeing an opportunity to exploit the dolphin hunting taking place there, began paying sizable amounts to some locals to capture live bottlenose dolphins. The buyers then marketed and sold the animals to international aquariums for profits in excess of ten times the amount paid to the islanders.
Despite joining CITES in 2007, the Solomon Islands announced that it would sanction the unsustainable capture and export of 100 dolphins per year. Several dolphin capture outfits were responsible for the exportation of wild-caught dolphins.
Certain local government officials in the Solomon Islands were complicit in enabling the ventures to take place with little scrutiny and/or concern for their country’s international treaty obligations.
In September 2011, the Solomons’ government passed a new policy to ban all dolphin exports beginning January 1st. 2012.
What Facilities Have Dolphins From The Solomon Islands?
Atlantida ATLANTIDA, MEXICO
July 2003, Mexico imported 28 Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins from the Solomon Islands for the Atlantida facility in Cancun. At least 12 of the original 28 dolphins exported to Mexico died within five years of their transport.
Atlantis Dubai THE ATLANTIS, DUBAI
October 2007, 28 Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins to the Atlantis resort in Dubai – a deal whereby government tax was estimated at over US$100,000. (the Solomon Islands overturned their 2003 ban on the trade of live dolphins to allow this export )
Resorts World at Sentosa RESORTS WORLD, SINGAPORE
December 2008 and January 2009, 18 dolphins were exported from the Solomon Islands to Philippines to be trained before being re-exported to Singapore. These dolphins are scheduled to be sent to Resorts World Sentosa in 2010.
Awana Porto Malai AWANA PORTO MALAI, MALAYSIA
December 2009, 9 dolphins from the Solomon Islands arrived in holding pens at Awana Porto Malai Resort in Malaysia. Six of the dolphins were exported by the Solomon Islands Marine Export Limited and three from the Solomon Islands Marine Wildlife Park.
Ocean Adventure Park OCEAN ADVENTURE, PHILIPPINES
In December 2008 and January 2009, a total of 18 dolphins were exported from the Solomon Islands to the Philippines to be trained before being re-exported to Resorts World, Singapore. After the imports took place, the Philippines CITES Scientific Authority declared the imports to be illegal.
Chinese Theme Park CHINA
November 2011, a total of 25 dolphins were exported from the Solomon Islands to China. The dolphins were shipped out without a valid permit, a claim confirmed by the Ministry of Fisheries.
Blood Dolphin$ – Dolphin Trade in the Solomon Islands