11 Oct 2005

New Solomon Islands fisheries minister to stay neutral on whaling issues

8:36 pm on 11 October 2005

Solomon Islands' new Fisheries and Marine Resources Minister says the Government will take a neutral stance on commercial whaling from now.

Mathias Taro has replaced Paul Maenu'u who resigned in the wake of a controversy after he voted at an International Whaling Commission meeting to support Japan's bid to resume commercial whaling.

This was despite the Government's stated opposition to this move.

Mr Taro says Cabinet has now decided the country must stay neutral on international whaling issues.

"If we talk about politics here, you know, we are supported by Australia and Japan - we should be neutral. On the question of whale sanctuaries, we have to be neutral. I cannot really say we support Japan or we support Australia with this stand. I think to be neutral is best for us."

Mathias Taro says he will support moves aimed at the sustainable fishing of other marine species.