by Phil Kline
June 18, 2009
Dominica is a fabulous country, from its welcoming, friendly people to its unsurpassed unspoiled natural beauty. "The Nature Isle" although an apt description is such an understatement of what I discovered on my recent trip to Dominica. As they say a picture is worth a thousand words, I’ll leave it up to you to explore Dominica’s natural beauty through the photos and video posted here on our website. Suffice it to say photos don’t do it justice. As the lead campaigner on whales for GreenpeaceUS and after hearing that Dominica has decided that is not in their best interest to continue to support Japan, at the International Whaling Commission (IWC), in Japan’s quest to re-establish commercial whale hunting I had to go there for myself and see what’s up.
Dominica’s Prime Minister, Roosevelt Skerrit, announced in 2008 "This year the Cabinet took a decision that Dominica shall abstain on the issue of commercial whaling; we are breaking a trend that we have maintained for a number of years," adding that the decision to change the island’s pattern of voting was in the best interest of the country. He kept his promise – Dominica did not attend the 2008 meeting of the IWC. In March 2009, speaking in Dominica’s capital, Roseau, at the International Ocean Life Symposium, the Prime Minister reconfirmed that his government would no longer be supporting the whale-killing position of the Japanese government in the IWC. He said that his government would be acting in his country’s "national interest." This makes Dominica the only East Caribbean IWC member country that does not support Japan’s drive to resume commercial whaling.
Greenpeace applauds Dominica for their decision however having been in the politics of ocean conservation for many years I knew there must be more to it than just the Prime Minister’s proclamation. As I suspected there are many unsung conservation heroes in Dominica that have championed the cause of whale conservation for many years leading up to the Prime Minister’s change of heart in rebuffing Japan. The Dominican Conservation Association and the Waitikubuli Ecologicial Foundation along with many individuals deserve recognition and praise for their years of work championing whale conservation that is the true catalyst for this great accomplishment.
Along with the local conservation leaders, whale watching tour operators and tourist business leaders came together and convinced their government that being known as a whale friendly nation is truly their best path into the future. Join me and thousands of others in thanking Dominica. I will make sure the non whale friendly nations know of your support for Dominica at the IWC this month in Portugal.
Visit our Dominica site at: www.greenpeace.org/dominica