Antigua and Barbuda challenged members of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) to view sustainable management of marine resources as a more efficient way of conserving whales and other marine cetaceans.
Senator Joanne Massiah, Minister of State in the Ministry of Agriculture, Lands, Environment, Marine Resources and Agro Industry, in her opening statement to the IWC, stated that “a nation surrounded by water such as Antigua and Barbuda must of necessity concern itself with the sustainable use of its marine resources.
It is duty bound to protect its territorial waters as fiercely as it would its right to harvest creatures - in a responsible and sustainable manner - both for the survival of its people and to increase its ability to earn foreign exchange through trade thereby ensuring its economic survival.”
Antigua and Barbuda is concerned about the extinction and depletion of any plant or animal. In this regard, “We have the legal, moral, ethical duty and responsibility to adhere to and uphold the principles of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), to ensure the sustainable replenishment, renewal and re-deployment of endangered species and those threatened by extinction,” the Minister said.
Recently appointed Whaling Commissioner, Ambassador Anthony ‘Mamba’ Liverpool, highlighted the importance of Antigua and Barbuda’s participation in this international forum and the need for OECS countries to work closer together in developing a more coordinated approach to the sustainable use of marine resources.
“The IWC is an international organisation, developed in 1946 to regulate whale fisheries to ensure proper and effective conservation and development. It is an important body that provides the opportunity for small island developing states to engage in frank and open discussions on issues not only relating to whaling, but matters of conservation, environmental protection and sustainable use of marine resources,” Liverpool said.
According to Ambassador Liverpool, the meeting addressed the issues relating to the Aboriginal Subsistence Whaling, the development of a revised management scheme for the protection and conservation of whales, establishment of sanctuaries and the establishment of a formula for calculating contributions of member countries.
The other members of Antigua and Barbuda’s delegation to the 56th Meeting of the IWC included Ambassador Colin Murdoch, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Diane Black-Lane, Chief Environment Officer.
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