Costa Rica has paid part of its debt to the International Whaling Commission, making the country eligible to vote in May on whether to lift a world moratorium on whale hunting.
The Costa Rican Coalition for Whales, made up of 10 environmental organizations, confirmed Costa Rica paid $37,430 of its debt, according to the daily Al Día.
Costa Rica has been behind in its dues to the commission since the 1980s, and owes more than $300,000. Costa Rican and international environmental groups recently protested in San José and the surrounding area calling on the government to pay its dues and vote to uphold the moratorium, which has prohibited whaling worldwide since 1986.
Following the protests, Environment and Energy Minister Roberto Dobles said a group of private organizations had offered to pay $30,000 of Costa Rica’s debt (TT, Feb. 16, 2007). The names of the organizations were not provided.
Environmentalists and tourism industry representatives say the country has a duty to protect whales because various species migrate through Costa Rican waters.