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Antigua reports disagreements at IWC meeting

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June 22 ULSAN, South Korea – The International Whaling Commission is in crisis and could become dysfunctional if the level of polarisation is not addressed. That’s according to Minister Joanne Massiah who is leading Antigua and Barbuda’s delegation to the International Whaling Commission 57th Annual Meeting in the city of Ulsan South Korea.
She said that the OECS Commissioners in a statement released on Monday at the opening of the Meeting, outlined that it is an “open secret that the IWC teeters on the brink of being completely dysfunctional, with its legitimacy and international standing severely weakened.

“When our organisation advises itself by majority vote on matters of countries’ treaty rights, and employs extra-legal means to oust its own members, the world watches in horror,” Minister Massiah quoted the statement as reading.

“The work we do here in Ulsan can serve to restore the credibility and standing of IWC, by ensuring that the organisation operates on the basis of international law and sound scientific information.

“There can be no doubt that the purpose of the ICRW and its component organs is the regulation of whaling activities. We are enjoined to pursue the regulation of whaling on the basis of sound scientific principles and data.

“As island nations, we are acutely aware that sustainable use of all marine living resources is a key component of sustainable development. Surrounded as we are by millions in square kilometres of ocean, we in the Eastern Caribbean know that sustainable use of marine resources is a vital component in achieving food security,” she said.

Minister Massiah who is attending the Meeting along with Ambassador to the IWC Anthony Liverpool, Ambassador Colin Murdoch and Fisheries Officer Tricia Lovell, said that the Commissioners further highlighted that the establishment of an open equitable and functioning Revised Management Scheme (RMS) will help to pull the organisation back from the brink of irrelevance and place it firmly on the path to effective management of an important resource.

“There is no longer significant disagreement in scientific opinion that the population of some species of whales have rebounded sufficiently to allow for sustainable harvesting. The RMS can establish such a regime, one that is equitable, transparent and based on the precautionary principle,” she said the statement reads.

Participating countries of the Eastern Caribbean at the Ulsan meeting include Dominica, Grenada, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, St. Kitts/Nevis and Antigua and Barbuda.  The meeting ends on Friday 24 June 2005.

1.       Antigua and Barbuda’s delegation to the IWC Meeting in South Korea. (Left to right) Tricia Lovell, Ambassador Colin Murdoch, Minister Joanne Massiah and Ambassador Liverpool

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