SOLOMON Islands will remain neutral and abstain from voting on the issue of the commercialization of whaling and it supports the sustainable harvesting of whales for the purpose of scientific research
Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Mathias Taro explained the Government’s position following a question from the MP for East Malaita, Joses Sanga in Parliament on Wednesday.
Mr Sanga wanted to know the Government’s position on whale harvesting.
In his explanation, Mr Taro told Parliament that “any decision on this issue is the decision taken as a sovereign nation and that we should not be easily persuaded, or be influenced into taking a position that undermines our sovereignty.”
“Given the recent sensitivity surrounding this issue, and our desire not to upset two of our major development partners, it makes a lot more sense that we maintain a neutral position in future,” Mr Taro said.
At the same time Mr Taro said: “We need to back to the initial decision as to why we actually became a member of the International Whaling Commission, as it is quite clear that Solomon Islands, does not benefit directly for its membership.”
Following several supplementary questions by MPs, Prime Minister Sir Allan Kemakeza explained to Parliament that the Government had taken the neutral stand on the issue of commercialization of whaling because it wanted to see the results of the scientific research into the assumption that whales are helping to deplete fish stocks.
“Until the time when we see the results of the research, this Government will maintain the current policy,” Sir Allan said.
He also assured the people of Solomon Islands that the Government’s stand on the harvesting of whales will not affect the harvesting of dolphins for local consumption and porpoise teeth in certain parts of the country.
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