23 Jul 2004

Palau denies Japanese investment swayed its vote against whale sanctuary

10:30 am on 23 July 2004

Palau's denying that aid for Japan prompted it to vote against the creation of the South Pacific whale sanctuary.

The resolution to create a safe haven for whales was defeated at the annual meeting of the International Whaling Commission being held in Sorrento.

Although the resolution attracted a vote of 26 for, to 21 against, it needed a 75 per cent majority in favour, in order to pass.

A major whaling nation, Japan, is against the sanctuary.

But a Palau presidential spokesperson, Billy Kuartei, says Japanese research on whales that it says are endangering fish stocks, convinced Palau, to vote against the plan.

"It's been a position of Palau that we should allow those people who are doing the studies, the Japanese and so on, and really make a decision based on scientific studies on the depletion of fish and so on that are being eaten up by the whales."