Sunday, May 27, 2012

'Scientific whaling' another controversial issue

Another controversial political issue has recently fueled further disagreement among the government leaders of Solomon Islands. This political row came after Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo has declared his support to Japan’s Scientific Whaling Programme in the country. The issue has sparked concerns to the public. Again the row is versed between the Prime Minister and Opposition leader Dr Derrick Sikua. There seems to be unending political argument between these leaders adding to their continuing unresolved controversial issues.
The Opposition leader recently called the Prime Minister to honestly tell the nation whether the declaration on Japan’s Scientific Whaling Programme was based on a cabinet sanctioned decision or a personal decision.  In a media statement last week he asks for further explanation as to what and whose scientific research programme is the Prime Minister is referring to.  
                                                                                                                                                           Unless the Prime Minister is trying to mislead the public after realizing the likely repercussions of his announcement of his unprecedented move to support Japan’s Scientific Whaling Programme, his statement is a cause for embarrassment as it clearly displays his ignorance of the subject matter. The people of this nation need a clear and honest explanation from the Prime Minister as to whose ‘scientific research into whales’programme, he had declared his support for last week. If it was not Japan’s Scientific Whaling Programme that he was referring to, then whose ‘scientific research into  whales’ programme was he talking about.
                                                                                                                                                                         Prime Minister in response reiterated that Solomon Islands is against commercial whaling whilst it supports scientific research into whales in order to devise appropriate conservation methods. He said supporting scientific research is different from scientific whaling as the former allows for the use of non-lethal research techniques to obtaining statistically valid information on the population of whales.
However, Dr Sikua argues that Japan is the only country that carrying out whaling for scientific research and supporting it is effectively supporting Scientific Whaling Programme which involves the use of lethal techniques. He added it is ridiculous for the Prime Minister to keep reiterating his support for what he describes as ‘scientific research into whales’ without any definitive explanation. Dr Sikua said Solomon Islands has maintained a neutral position over the years and it has never impacted on the status of the moratorium imposed on commercial whaling by the International Whaling Commission in 1986.     
 Why supporting scientific research into Whales? Is it going to bring significant developments to the country? These are few questions undoubtedly ringing into people’s mind. Killing Whales purposely for scientific research is rather an absurd idea. Whales are peaceful mammals which have no threat to human being. It is a rare and special sea creature that should be conserved for attraction and for other purposes. Hence, supporting Japan who treats Whales as their favorite food is not the good idea.
We are not sure of Japan’s position here, is it to do with scientific research or just to discover the population of Whales for their personal interests. Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo should further critically analyzing the issue and asking the support of all citizens before supporting the move. Is it only his personal decision? I think he should continue stand neutral like other Prime Ministers did in the past years.


  1. Thank you Allen for highlighting this extremely important and controversial issue. It seems there is a bit more behind the sudden change in the Solomon’s Island Prime Minister attitude towards whaling. Firstly when the Japanese government declares that there is a need to slaughter thousands of whales all in the name of science and continue this practise for years. I mean how much scientific data does a country need? I have never seen people studying birds, plants and animals going out and slaughtering them by the thousands all in the name of science and scientific research. If you ask me any country that makes a sudden 180 degree turnaround will have a large amount of aid to spend. In my opinion blood money! And the whales keep getting slaughtered, all in the name of science.

  2. Very good. Just a few small things. "Lilo has declared" should be "Lilo declared," and "sparked concerns to the public" should be "sparked concern among the public." There is no white space between your first two paragraphs. Do not capitalise whales unless in the prper name of a type of whale, eg. Killer Whales. It should be just Lilo after first reference.

  3. Whaling is an interesting topic as it broaches topics of interference of state, national sovereignty and international law. Also there are the issues of economic support (to whichever territorial waters the whaling is done in) to various govts, i.e Japan giving aid to Pacific countries in order to then go 'scientific whaling'. Perhaps the author could look if there has been any aid from Japan to the Solomons, and is there any small print anywhere from the Solomons that offer support? Of course the public are concerned. It would be fair to say that the majority of the public worldwide are against whaling. But does this mean that a country that has practiced it for many years (such as Norway, Iceland, greenland etc) should discontinue? What annoys me about this topic, is that whales do no harm, they are easy to catch and kill, and really do we need to eat them? I have read that whale meat is very expensive in Japan and there is a stockpile because not that many people eat it! Is it fair that these creatures get hunted (lets face it- using a huge ship with explosive harpoons is not really hunting. Having five guys row out with no radar, under their own steam, with one harpoon and an angry Moby dick charging them, THAT is hunting!) NO! I hope the whales survive. Thank you for your blog:)

  4. This again highlighted self interest. It amazes me how the Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo supported the whaling program without a clear and precise explanation. Since previous government were always mindful in handling of the issue. Solomon Islands always concern about harvesting of whales and had taken a neutral position on commercial whaling. On the other hand this is not only about whaling but as it would also affect the national interest of Solomon Islands whether it is Japan or other Solomon Islands development partners. The government should be cautious when deciding on issue of commercial whaling. Also another question to note is whether the whaling program will benefit the country or else give opportunity to Japan to fish into our waters. I think the prime minister should make it clear to the public. The people of Solomon Islands need a clear and honest explanation whether it is scientific whaling or scientific research into whales.

  5. As a son of Solomon Islands, I totally disagree with the Prime Ministers decision in supporting Japan for this. Solomon Islands is a sovereign country and can make decisions on its own. We must not make decisions because another country wanted us to. So supporting Japan is not neutral concerning the above statement. Do we directly benefit from whaling? A question to ask.... did the government calculate the risk associated with this issue... concerning our partners. I remember a Greenpeace statement saying that Japan is using scientific whale research program just to hide the harvesting of whales for their dinner. We know that our whales are under grave threat of extinction but yet the Prime Minister decides to support Japan for this matter. Solomon Islands leaders should act independently on behalf of our people as a sovereign country free from outside influence, political agendas, and corruption. I share every tear shed with the whales. What I would like to do now is to make a call to 'STOP THE INNOCENT KILLING OF WHALES'.