U.S. Department of Commerce


Date of this Version



Occasional Paper of the IUCN Species Survival Commission No. 40


A workshop on the assessment of Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops aduncus), with the Solomon Islands as a case study, took place from 21-23 August 2008 in Apia, Samoa. It was planned and organized under the auspices of the Cetacean Specialist Group and attended by 19 invited participants from eight countries. Financial support was provided by WWF (International), The Ocean Conservancy, Animal Welfare Institute, Humane Society of the United States, Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society, U.S. Marine Mammal Commission and U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The workshop was hosted by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Program (SPREP).

Live-capture, holding in captivity and export of Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins from the Solomon Islands began in 2003. These activities stimulated global interest and generated concern about the potential conservation implications. The IUCN Global Plan of Action for the Conservation of Cetaceans had stated that as a general principle, small cetaceans should not be captured or removed from a wild population unless that specific population has been assessed and shown capable of sustaining the removals. A principal goal of the present workshop was to elaborate on the elements of an assessment that would meet this standard. Participants noted that an assessment involving delineation of stock boundaries, abundance, reproductive potential, mortality and trend cannot necessarily be achieved quickly or inexpensively.