Caribbean Environmentalists Issue Strong Statement in Run-up to Controversial Global Whaling Meeting

Friday, May 12, 2006
Roseau, Dominica
Forty-eight environmental leaders from across the Caribbean region this week released a strong statement in support of whale conservation as the region prepares for the 58th annual meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) in St. Kitts from June 16-20, 2006. The statement comes as Japan continues to be accused of using development aid funding to the region to pressure some small island IWC-member nations to vote with it in favor of whaling at the IWC meeting.
The Dominica Hotel and Tourism Association (DHTA) officially released the statement on behalf of the group, which is made up of representatives from conservation organizations and the eco-tourism industry across the Caribbean.

In their statement, the environmental leaders call for the Caribbean governments to:

  • Change their pro-whaling positions and support non-consumptive utilization of whales through development of the whale watching industry
  • Adopt pro-conservation positions in regional and international fora
  • Support sustainable tourism and responsible whale watching
  • Promote and secure designation and recognition of a Caribbean regional whale and dolphin sanctuary
  • Recognize the growing economic importance of whales and the marine environment to the Caribbean region
  • Renew their commitments to environmental sustainability and long term protection of the Caribbean Sea

“Whale watching is now a US$10 million-a-year industry across the Caribbean, our governments should be supporting this vital Caribbean industry, and not supporting Japan’s calls for whale hunting,” said Trinidad-born Dr. Joth Singh, Director of Wildlife and Habitat with IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare – www.ifaw.org).

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