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Friday, June 09, 2006

Cabinet resolves to abstain from whaling issues

By George Tausiria

Solomon Islands will abstain on the resolution on the moratorium on commercial and scientific whaling during the 58th Meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC).

The Solomon Islands Government decision was made during a cabinet session on Wednesday this week.

Instead the Minister for Fisheries and Marine Resources, Hon. Nollen Leni, revealed that his government would be calling on the IWC to make an urgent commitment to complete the Revised Management Scheme which enables the commission to inspect, monitor and control the sustainable harvesting of whale quotas.

The Minister said: “The government is concerned that the issues of commercial and scientific whaling have been allowed to continue without any positive signs of these issues being resolved by IWC.

“The situation can no longer be tolerated hence appropriate action must be taken by the IWC or member states to put an end to what has amounted to too much political wrangling between anti-whaling and pro-whaling nations”.

Mr. Leni also said that given that the International Convention on the Regulation of Whaling lacks a dispute resolution mechanism “members are at liberty to call for its amendment so as to ensure that disputes such as that of scientific whaling are resolved”.

Mr Leni said one way of persuading pro-whaling nations to put an end to scientific whaling is to challenge pro-whaling nations like Japan at the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea.

“If indeed the government of Japan had erred, then the onus is on anti-whaling nations to take the matter to the tribunal to prove their point.

“Government therefore regards the continual arguments over scientific and commercial whaling as highly unnecessary”, adding that: “ IWC must be allowed to dwell over its core business. This is the only way member countries can reap the benefits.”

Failing this Mr Leni warned that this may leave Solomon Islands very little choice but to consider the need to review its membership of IWC.

The 58th Meeting of the IWC from June 16 to 20 will be attended by Mr Leni and his Under-Secretary, Sylvester Diake.



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