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New dolphin capture angers Makili

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The latest dolphin capture has infuriated dolphin safe campaigner Lawrence Makili.
SEVEN bottle nose dolphins were last week captured outside the Lunga river mouth by fishermen and then reportedly sold to a local businessman in Honiara.

The latest capture has infuriated dolphin safe campaigner Lawrence Makili, who has just returned from a mission to free dolphins captured by villagers in the Western Province.

An official from the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources said the dolphins were caught in the fishermen’s net outside the Lunga River mouth.

He said two eventually died while the other five were bought by local business man and Kokonut Cafe owner Francis Chow.

The officer who wanted to remain anonymous said since the ban on dolphin capture and export was imposed this year, no licences were issued to any local and foreign buyers and or exporters.

 “According to our licensing division, no permits or license have been issued out to any local or foreign dolphin dealer in the country this year,” he said.

The source however said that any investigations into the matter would have to wait until the Director of Fisheries, the Permanent Secretary and the Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources return from overseas.

When contacted Mr Chow admitted purchasing the dolphins, but added that he did it to save the dolphins.

 “Had I not bought them from the fishermen, the dolphins would end up either at the fish market or on someone’s dinner plate, and mind you, I only bought four, not five.

“I think it’s good to keep them safe in the pen or they would have already been killed.”

Mr Chow refused to reveal how much he paid for the dolphins, but sources close to the businessman said that each of the dolphins were believed to have cost up to more than $2,500.

The reports of this recent capture of dolphins have again moved Mr Makili from his comfort zone, firing at both the Ministry of Fisheries and Mr Chow.

 “What kind of a ban on dolphins has the government of the day imposed, which has not at all been observed here in Honiara.

“Dolphins are being captured everywhere in the country.

“I wonder what the responsible authorities in the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources will do about this?”

The Earth Islands Institute director warned that this capture risked dashing out plans by Frabel Company to establish Tuna cannery Factories on Guadalcanal.

He lashed out at Mr Chow saying he knew he had no proper license to keep the dolphins but he kept imprisoning the dolphins without proper medical care.

He asked for the release of the dolphins back into the wild.

By Jeremy Inifiri