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65,000+ say no to Caribbean commercial whaling

Broadcast quality video and still images of whales and whale watching is available at www.thenewsmarket.com/ifaw

65,000+ say no to Caribbean commercial whaling

Urge protection of whales in global hot spot for whale watching

(20 December 2006) – More than 65,000 emails and faxes urging Caribbean leaders not to consider commercial whaling were sent to Ministers of Tourism there, after the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW – www.ifaw.og) called on supporters worldwide to encourage whale watching over commercial whaling.

The protests were sent after St. Kitts and Nevis Fisheries Minister Cedric Liburd suggested that Caribbean nations should commercially hunt whales in order to offer the whale meat to tourists.
“More than 65,000 people around the world – many of them potential tourists to the Caribbean – have taken the time to express their resentment to Minister Liburd’s statement. They are extremely concerned about the future of the whales,” said Trinidad-born Dr. Joth Singh, IFAW’s Director of Wildlife and Habitat Protection.
“The message is clear, offering whale meat up on a platter will not entice tourists to come here, and indeed may have the opposite effect in keeping tourists away. This is certain to have a negative impact on the image of the islands of the Eastern Caribbean as destination spots for eco-tourism.”

“Whale watching is a thriving part of the growing eco-tourism industry,” said Andrew Armour of Dominica, President of CARIBwhale, an association formed with the assistance of IFAW to promote the whale watching industry in the Caribbean. “The Caribbean is one of the best places in the world for whale watching, due to a high success rate for sightings as well as the balmy conditions here.

“CARIBwhale is working to increase the number of tourists who visit our islands for whale watching, ultimately benefiting our hotels, restaurants and shops. The economic incentive to keep whales alive and safe in our waters is there for all of us.”

Whale watching in the Caribbean is estimated to be worth more than US$22 million per year. Humpback, sperm, pygmy sperm, and pilot whales, as well as numerous species of dolphins, can be seen off of many of the islands of the Eastern Caribbean.

IFAW continues to call on its 2.5 million supporters worldwide to send notice to the Ministers of Tourism throughout the Caribbean, urging them to support whale watching over whale hunting. To learn more, visit www.ifaw.org today.

ENDS

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