THE Government must stop the export of dolphins if it wants to see the success of the proposed tuna factory on Guadalcanal, an environmental group has warned.
Frabelle Fishing Company from the Philippines has sent one of its officials into the country to meet with local authorities about their proposal.
The fishing company plans to build a tuna processing factory in the Tenaru area, east of Honiara.
But United States-based Earth Island Institute yesterday maintained that its policy on dolphin safe is still in place for Solomon Islands.
Director Mark Berman said his organisation will not certify Frabelle Fishing Company’s products for export unless Solomon Islands stops dolphin export.
The Government had allowed the export of at least 100 live dolphins a year, which saw the export of almost 50 dolphins last year by local dealer Chris Porter.
This has sparked international outrage from environmental groups, who call for the respect of dolphins.
Mr Berman said Frabelle Fishing had consulted them before applying for a business licence to operate here.
"We supported the Frabelle company's proposal in this venture as long as the dolphin trade ends,” Mr Berman said.
"This is the bottom line," he added.
Mr Berman said Frannie Frabella, the owner of Frabelle Fishing, is aware of this.
"Therefore, he will show that he is intent on opening the cannery with Earth Island Institute’s approval but will not complete the project until the dolphin trade ends.
"This is the position of Earth Island and our South Pacific rep Lawrence Makili is aware of this.
"Therefore nothing has changed," he said in a telephone interview from the United States.
Mr Berman said the company can go ahead and build its factory but unless the Solomon Islands Governments stops it export of dolphin, it won’t be able to export its products.
"I'm in charge of all dolphin safe tuna monitoring and we will not approve any cannery as dolphin safe in Guadalcanal until the trade has ended.
"This is the fact and there is no change in our position," he said.
Mr Berman said if the company and the government want fight with Earth Island Institute over the dolphin safe issue, that is their decision.
“But at the end of the day, there’ll be no market for them in the US and the European Union.
"Markets in the US and the European Union only accept products Earth Island Institute certifies.
"This goes for Frabelle, Dong Won or any company that is on our dolphin safe list.
"Therefore we are not singing a different tune on this issue," Mr Berman said.
He challenged the Government to play its part to stop the dolphin trade and capture on Guadalcanal.
Owner of the fishing company, Frannie Frabelle, yesterday told Solomon Star in an email that he is aware of the policy.
He said the trip by his Liaison officer to Solomon Islands was to follow up on their application and business permits.
He said a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is yet to be signed as well.
The company plans to start building its factory this year.
Frabelle Fishing Company is on the Dolphin Safe list monitored by Earth island.
By MOFFAT MAMU
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