Kiribati joins the International Whaling Commission
Kiribati is the second Pacific Island Country to have joined the IWC in the last year. Their neighbour, Tuvalu, joined in June 2004, just in time to attend the last annual meeting of the IWC held in Italy last July. At that meeting, Tuvalu voted with the pro-whaling nations and against the conservation of the world’s whales (see voting record below). Tuvalu became the first South Pacific country to vote against setting up a South Pacific Whale Sanctuary.
The Government of Kiribati has made commitments to whale conservation through various Pacific regional agreements including supporting the establishment of a South Pacific Whale Sanctuary, recognising the Pacific is one of the world’s most critical areas for whale conservation. Many throughout the region will be watching Kiribati’s voting at the next IWC meeting in Korea in June 2005 carefully. It is hoped that Kiribati will continue its support for the protection of the region’s whales and to respect the will of the majority of Pacific Island Countries.