Friday, September 25, 2009

Sharks and whales

In his piece today about the President of Palau's announcement to make the waters of his country a Sharks Sanctuary, Richard Black is right to draw a parallel (and to suggest a contradiction) with Palau's active support for the campaign of Japan to justify their "scientific" whaling operations and to seek the resumption of commercial whaling.

Palau's otherwise remarkable record on ocean conservation (shark protection, marine protected areas, but also -- most importantly -- the lead they took to support measures to protect deep sea marine biodiversity including their call for a UN moratorium on high seas bottom trawling) has been tainted by their active support to Japan's whaling industry.

If it reviews Palau's policy, and in his bilateral talks with Japan, I'd suggest that the President of Palau explores with the new Japanese leadership the possibility of a realistic exit strategy to the current policy impasse in which the former Japanese administration has brought the debate on whale conservation.

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