UNDP Solomon Islands supports Dolphin Assessment and Management Workshop

17 May 2012

(Honiara, Solomon Islands) - - A recent survey conducted by marine specialists shows that certain sub species of the dolphin population in the Solomon Islands is under threat. A two-day workshop that started in Honiara today will discuss the findings of this survey and use it to develop a national management plan.

The Solomon Islands Government’s Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources and the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management and Meteorology in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) have organized the workshop to present a scientific assessment of the dolphin population and the threats to the species.

“The workshop has put the Solomon Island on the forefront of Marine Mammal conservation in the Pacific”, said Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, the Hon Alfred Ghiro as he opened the workshop.

This workshop follows a previous workshop on Solomon Islands species supported by UNDP in April which provided the impetus for specific species management such as the dolphins.  

UNDP Deputy Resident Representative, Akiko Suzaki welcomed the joint effort by the fisheries and environment departments who share responsibility for marine species management.  

“It is pleasing to see that the management plan will be developed on the basis of scientific information. Active participation by communities who traditionally practiced drive and hunt methods and other stakeholders engaged in live dolphin capture export as well as the engagement of provincial councils in community education and awareness are important ingredients for success,” said Ms Suzaki in her opening remarks.  

“Dolphins in the Solomon Islands are  now increasingly coming under threat. Traditional drive and hunting practices in some communities, live exports of dolphins to international aquariums targeting particular species are threatening the viability of these species,” said  Lui Bell, the Marine Species Officer from Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) who is attending the workshop.

Dolphins are protected species under the International Convention on Endangered Species (CITES) and Solomon Islands Government is a signatory to the CITES convention and the International Convention on Biodiversity.  The Ministry of Environment is the designated licensing authority for live capture and export of dolphins in Solomon Islands.  

“Solomon Islands is also a signatory to the Pacific regional migratory species agreement and this initiative will be positive step for the country,” he said.

“The live capture and export targets specific sub species which are close to the shore and may pose a threat to long term viability of these dolphins,” said Marc Oremas, an international dolphin expert who participated in the dolphin survey.

The workshop will discuss findings of dolphins surveys carried out by international dolphin and local scientists who have expressed concerns over the viability of the species in Solomon Islands. The workshop will lead to the development of a national management plan based on this recently completed population survey.

The views of both local and international community will be obtained as part of the consultation process before implementing the activities to be controlled such as restrictions on traditional hunting, reduced quotas for live export and better management of captive breeding are explored.

Contact Information

Valentine Thurairajah –Project Manager, UNDP SEMRICC, email: valentine.thurairajah@hotmail.com; phone: +677 27446.