The Rescue Myth
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 situation, began paying relatively sizeable amounts to some locals to capture live bottlenose dolphins.
The buyers then market and sell the animals to international aquariums for profits in excess of ten-fold the price paid to the locals.
Despite joining CITES in 2007, the Solomon Islands announced that it would sanction the sustainable capture and export of 100 dolphins per year. Several dolphin capture outfits have subsequently sprung up and more exports are taking place.
Certain local government officials in the Solomon Islands have become complicit in enabling the ventures to take place with little scrutiny and/or concern for their country’s international treaty obligations.
As a result, the capture of wild bottlenose dolphins continues, along with the exploitation and corruption of local people, cultural traditions and way of life.