Dominica will no longer vote with Japan in favor of commercial whaling, according to an announcement by Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerritt.
The Caribbean island has voted with Japan for the last eight years to overturn the ban on commercial whaling, "but our government reviewed that position and determined that it is no longer the best course of action for Dominica," Skerritt said.
"Dominica remains strongly in favor of the sustainable use of marine resources,” Skerritt said. “Voting for an overturn of the existing ban would be inconsistent with the standards and principles of sustainability that we advocate.”
Eight years ago, Dominica was dependent upon agriculture, and tourism was largely undeveloped. As tourism grew, Dominica positioned itself as "The Nature Island," a destination "for responsible tourists who seek out environmentally friendly leisure travel destinations," according to Ian Douglas, minister of tourism, legal affairs and civil aviation.
"The decision was made to change our stance at the IWC (International Whaling Commission) as part of our ongoing review of our national interest in the conservation of natural resources and the sustainability of our tourism product," Douglas said.
Japan has been pushing for an end to the IWC ban on commercial whaling that began in 1986. In recent years, Japan and other pro-whaling nations failed to obtain the 75% of votes needed to overturn the IWC moratorium.