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WWF shocked by dugong slaughter

WWF-Pacific (Solomon Islands) is horrified by the footage of a dugong being slaughtered and sold at the market in Gizo town, Western Province.

The dugong is classified as “Vulnerable” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species and has seen a population decline of 30% in the last sixty years1.

The Island Sun article of 18 April 2017, incorrectly suggested that it is the role of WWF to uphold laws to protect harvesting of wildlife.

“We would like to clarify that the organisation’s role in the Solomon Islands is to promote awareness and build capacity to address conservation issues to protect wildlife, and that it is the role of Solomon Islands Government, the national and provincial levels, to enforce relevant laws.

“Every individual Solomon Islander, including WWF staff, is required to comply with these laws, allowing wildlife and the dugong population in this case, to be protected.

The government of Solomon Islands has signed onto numerous international agreements to protect and conserve wildlife, such as being an IUCN member state and a signatory to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

WWF is aware that the government of the Solomon Islands is working towards drawing up and improving enforcement of policies and legislations that will contribute to the protection of dugongs, like the regulations under the Wildlife Protection and Management (Amendment) Act 2017.

“We have spoken to government representatives and offered our assistance to help build capacity to improve existing regulations, monitoring and enforcement of harvesting of dugongs, turtles and other threatened wildlife. We hope to draw on our strong relationship to address these issues going forward.

WWF is currently working with the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources to implement Community- Based Fisheries Management (CBFM) approaches in the Western Province.

“This work aims to complement government regulations by integrating customary management practices into decision making to better manage coral reef ecosystems.

“We are working with partners across the Western Province to promote sustainable fisheries, including projects deploying Inshore Fish Aggregating Devices (iFADs) and measuring spawning potential of fish species. To date, over 6,000 fish from over 200 species of fish have been measured, which is sufficient to develop assessments of stock status for 12 species of fish.

“ We have also assisted in developing sustainable community livelihoods by working with women’s groups to ensure that benefits from more sustainable fishing activities and the focus on CBFM contributes to more livelihood opportunities.

Two communities have formally requested that WWF review their current Marine Protected Area (MPA) Management Plans, and support them in developing CBFM-focused management plans. Additionally, we have provided financial literacy training to 742 women across seven zones, who have saved a total of SBD $270,650 (USD $34,765) and funded many small business opportunities with loans from achieved savings.

—WWF






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