The Opposition Leader Hon. Dr Derek Sikua has described Prime
Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo’s statement attempting to differentiate scientific
whaling from scientific research into whales as an embarrassing confusion of
the same thing.
Hon. Dr Sikua said as a matter of fact, the only country in the world carrying out whaling for the purpose of scientific research is Japan hence to support scientific research into whales is effectively supporting Japan’s Scientific Whaling Programme which involves the use of lethal techniques.
He said Solomon Islands has over the years taken a neutral stand on the issue of Japan’s scientific whaling programme and should continue maintaining this diplomatically sensible position.
The Opposition Leader said maintaining a neutral position is important to avoid upsetting both Japan and other Solomon Islands development partners who are staunchly opposed to whaling whether for research or commercial purposes.
“Unless the Prime Minister is trying to mislead the public after realizing the likely repercussions of his announcement of his unprecedented move to support Japan’s scientific whaling programme, his statement is a cause for embarrassment as it clearly displays his ignorance of the subject matter.”
“The people of this nation need a clear and honest explanation from the Prime Minister as to whose ‘scientific research into whales’
programme, he had declared his support for last week. If it was not Japan’s Scientific Whaling Programme that he was referring to, then whose ‘scientific research into whales’ programme was he talking about,” the Opposition Leader said.
Hon. Dr Sikua said three countries carrying out large scale whaling operations despite the moratorium imposed on commercial whaling by the International Whaling Commission (IWC) are Norway, Iceland and Japan.
He said Norway and Iceland carry out commercial whaling under objection to the moratorium and therefore are not legally bound by it whilst Japan carries out whaling for scientific research under special permit by the IWC.
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