Wednesday, January 27, 2010

More Whale news in the Caribbean.

Caribbean whaling countries urged to capitalise more on quid pro quo with Japan

By Observer News - Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

A former top regional fisheries official says Antigua & Barbuda and other Caribbean members of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) should leverage for more than just fisheries assistance from Japan in exchange for their votes.

The advice comes from Horace Walters who was St Lucia’s chief fisheries officer and a former head of the Eastern Caribbean Cetacean Organisation (ECCO).

Antigua & Barbuda, Dominica, St Kitts & Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines and Grenada belong to the IWC, which was set up in 1964 to provide for the proper conservation of whale stocks and the orderly development of the whaling industry.

Walters says their support for Japan is a principled position which affirms their own right to exploit the surrounding marine resources, but it must move beyond that.

“I think the time has come to expand the co-operation, not just in fisheries but in other areas,” he said. “Japan has capacity to do all things and whereas they might have concentrated their efforts in the fisheries sector, where we made the request and the request for assistance came from the government, right now, I think that the governments ought to review the requests they make to Japan because our fisheries sector is well established.

“We have the vessels; we have the manpower and the resources are there. So it is up to us to continue to develop the fisheries sector, but then the co-operation can be expanded to include a number of other areas.”

Walters said with Antigua and the other pro-whaling islands being threatened with tourism boycotts, the prospects for Japanese tourists should be explored.

“We should be looking for Japanese tourists,” he said. “We should be looking to bring a Japan Airline to Jamaica and to have a link between Jamaica and the islands with Japanese visitors.

“We should be looking to bring a lot of Japanese visitors to the island, not just Americans or Europeans. That’s not the only area but I think it will be left to the government to decide where they want the co-operation with Japan.”

Walters’ comments come at a time when the anti-whaling lobby in Antigua & Barbuda is again pressing government to turn its back on countries like Japan and Norway – the main whaling nations.
Well you know what I think about all of this. You can read more here.

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