15 Jun 2005

Whale conservation group watches Solomons' moves closely

6:38 pm on 15 June 2005

The Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society says it believes Solomon Islands may have become convinced about the benefits of whale watching as opposed to commercial whaling.

The society was commenting on the reason why the Solomons may abstain from voting on whether to lift a moratorium on commercial whaling at a meeting in South Korea next week.

Solomon Islands has not supported proposals for a South Pacific Whale Sanctuary, and its support is considered key in an issue that's neck and neck.

Philippa Brakes, a scientist for the society, who's attending the 57th International Whaling Commission meeting, says the society will be watching the Solomons ahead of the voting.

"I believe it's a recognition of the ability to encourage tourists to come to the country to look at the animals that may be in their waters, and all of the knock-on effects to the rest of the community. So not just necessarily the whale-watch industry, but all of the other tourist dollars that would come into the country from that kind of activity as well, so it becomes long term sustainable for their own economy."

Philippa Brakes.