From: Ellsworth Carter, Associated Press
Published May 1, 2007 12:00 AM

Dominica Defends Support for Whaling Following Prime Minister's Visit to Japan

ROSEAU, Dominica -- Dominica rejected criticism Monday that its vote on an international whaling council was up for sale after the prime minister returned from Japan with new aid pledges and renewed his support for commercial whaling.

Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit, who concluded a three-week trip to Japan and China last week, said on state-owned DBS radio Monday that "we told the Japanese we will continue to support the sustainable use of marine resources."

Skerrit also announced that Tokyo will build a fish-processing center on the Caribbean island, the latest assistance from a country that has built two other fisheries in the former British colony.

Environmental groups have accused Dominica and other developing nations of voting with Japan, a pro-whaling nation, at meetings of the International Whaling Commission in exchange for financial aid.

"Dominica is for sale and acts like an international prostitute," said conservationist Atherton Martin.

Government spokesman Sean Douglas said Dominica has a similar approach to wildlife management as Japan and "rejects outright" the suggestion that it supports Tokyo's position in exchange for assistance.

"The government has always said we support sustainable uses in support of our own wildlife program," Douglas said.

The next IWC meeting will be held May 28-31 in Anchorage, Alaska.

At the meeting last year in St. Kitts, a slim majority including Dominica voted in support of commercial whaling but did not have enough support to overturn a 20-year-old ban.

Source: Associated Press

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