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Citizens of pro-whaling countries: 'No' to whaling

Press Release Embargoed for 1700GMT on 15 June 2006
Citizens from ten pro-whaling countries say “No” to whaling – WWF

On the eve of 58th International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting, a new WWF poll reveals that citizens from ten countries in the Pacific and Caribbean, whose governments repeatedly vote to resume commercial whaling, do not support the hunting and killing of whales.

The WWF poll was carried out in Palau, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, the Marshall Islands, Kiribati, Grenada, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, St Lucia and St Kitts and Nevis, where the IWC meeting is being held.

The questions included awareness of the IWC, whether countries should vote for or against a return to commercial whaling, and support for votes in the past to return to commercial whaling.

“This poll shows that governments are flying in the face of public opinion. The results are overwhelming – people simply do not want a return to commercial whaling,” says Chris Howe, Conservation Director at WWF-New Zealand.

In each Pacific country surveyed, while a majority of people are unaware of the IWC, more were against their country voting for a return to commercial whaling than were for it, and if their country has voted for a return in the past, they think that it should not have done so.

In answer to the question “Do you think your country should vote for or against a return to commercial whaling?”, the Marshall Islands rejected returning to whaling by 64%, Tuvalu by 64%, Kiribati by 47% (14% don’t know), Palau by 76% and the Solomon Islands by 72%.

In none of the five Caribbean countries surveyed, does a majority think their country should vote for a return to commercial whaling, nor think their country should have, in the past, voted for a return to commercial whaling. In four of these countries, the majority of people were aware of the IWC.

In answer to the question “The representative of your country has in past meetings of the IWC voted for a return to commercial whaling. Do you think your country should have voted this way?,” Grenada voted no by 33 % (37% don’t know) St Lucia by 50% (17% don’t know) , Antigua and Barbuda by 79%, Dominica by 40% (14% don’t know) and St Kitts and Nevis by 54%.

Japan, through its 20-year pro-whaling lobbying strategy, is poised to claim “victory” this year by gaining the majority of votes needed at the IWC to set in course actions to dismantle the rules that protect whales and prepare the way for the eventual full resumption of commercial whaling.

WWF calls on the governments of the ten countries surveyed to consider the needs of their own citizens, and vote for whale conservation at this year’s IWC meeting.

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WWF is now known simply by its initials and the panda logo. wwf.org.nz

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Notes for editors:

1 The research in the Pacific was carried out by Fiji-based Tebbutt Research, a full service market research company with international credentials and project experience, combined with local knowledge and a presence on the ground in the Pacific. They are a multi award winning company.

The surveys were conducted by telephone, using randomly selected numbers from phone books for each country. Respondents were selected randomly from the household, and all were adult citizens of the country they reside in. Interviews were conducted in 4 languages – English, Pidgin, I-Kiribati, and Tuvaluan. All interviews, validation, quality control, data entry, and analysis were conducted in-house by Tebbutt Research to strict standards according to ESOMAR guidelines. 200 interviews were conducted in each country (1000 in total), between 25 May and 6 June 2006. Using population data from the CIA World Factbook, the sample size selected gives a maximum statistical margin of error of less than 7% for each country at the 95% confidence level.

2 The research in the Caribbean was carried out by Meridian Marketing Support Services Ltd, an independent research company based in Trinidad and Tobago. The poll was taken using a prepared questionnaire between 25 May and 8 June 2006. Individuals polled were selected via a random method and using the local telephone listing as the sampling frame. Individuals were polled via telephone interviews. In each territory the margin of error is 4%, with a confidence interval of 95%. Sample size – 300 persons in each territory.

3 For further information on the IWC, please go to www.panda.org/species/iwc

4 WWF has a core team attending the IWC meeting again this year. Chris Howe, Conservation Director at WWF-New Zealand, is a member of this team and can be contacted through Irene Hamer, Communications Manager on 04 471 4294, 021 053 6773 or ihamer@wwf.org.nz.


ENDS

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