THE belief that the more you give, the more you receive does not bother Earth Island Institute who only give to save the intellectual animals known as dolphins.
Led by Earth Island Institute EII regional director Lawrence Makili, EII associate director Mark Berman and the famous Ric O’Berry struck a tangible deal with Fanalei and Walande communities in Malaita to stop dolphin harvesting.
The delegation signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the communities last week during their visit to the communities.
The MOU will see a stop to harvesting of dolphins by the two communities for the next two years.
Mr Makili said in recognition of the understanding and agreement by the two communities to stop harvesting dolphin and their request for assistance to reciprocate the stop deal, EII will provide a tangible project for all households within the communities.
“It is a very attractive project which will benefit all families in the two communities, in return for saving the lives of these harmless mammals which we will receive no benefit from but to conserve for the betterment of this nation,” he said.
He said the two communities whole heartedly agreed to stop harvesting dolphins within the next two years.
“I do not want to disclose how much that project will involve but I must say that the communities unanimously agree and desperately waiting to see their request for assistance materialised.”
He said the assistance through the initiated project is in the pipe line and families from the two communities now stand ready to benefit.
He said they will ensure the agreement is kept.
“We will put monitoring mechanisms in place so that the deal is honoured.
“Whereby the agreement is breached by the communities, we will also cease the deal.”
Mr Makili emphasis that EII is giving and not taking away anything from the communities.
“That is the good thing about this deal, because at the end of the day these are our animals and not someone from overseas, they will still remain and reproduce in our waters, but for an individual to come and send them overseas for an individual benefit is a dodgy deal.”
Mr Makili said people in the two communities agreed that it is not taking away their culture, but is a tangible conservative method for them.
Fanalei community signatory and Representative Joseph Wane said people in his community after meeting with the delegation resolved that it is not taking away their culture.
“We agreed that the value of our culture in relation to dolphins has already gone.”
He said what has stolen away and replaces that culture is money.
“You see, in today’s society not everyone uses dolphin teeth to pay for a bride and not everyone has that, and it is very practical that normally our people accept money instead of dolphin teeth, therefore money is very effective and is the only baseline.
“So while our culture is still there to practice, it is also high time to collectively make efforts to conserve dolphins.
“Because nowadays, to catch a dolphin men would paddle miles out into the sea for the whole day and sometimes return with nothing. But to conserve these animals this way whereby we receive benefit for conserving our own environment is a real blessing,” Mr Wane said.
He said that the persons who signed in the open letter against the Earth Islands Institute delegation were those who spent much of their time in Honiara.
“We are people who struggle in the community, see and deal with these people and this agreement was made in their presence with their united support.”
Walande community representative Moffat Suiga said his community will certainly take a break from harvesting dolphins.
However, before the end of the interview, someone rushed in with fresh news from Bita’ama community.
Michael Toling Kirio poped in just in time to relay news from his community that they want to be included in the agreement.
Mr Kiro said he was sent by the community after learning of the deal struck by Walande and Fanalei with EII.
“Our community strongly requests that we be included in this deal.
“We believe that we must change for a better.”
Mr Makili said they are prepared to eventually expand the deal to other dolphin harvesting communities in Malaita who want to join.
By EDNAL PALMER
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