The mayor of Taiji in Japan says it is hard to believe Broome Shire Council has suspended ties with his town over its annual slaughter of dolphins.
The Australian reports that mayor Shinichi Ryono is yet to receive official word from Broome that the 100-year relationship between the towns is over.
On Saturday the Broome Council voted to suspend sister-city relations after councillors decided Taiji's dolphin cull was barbaric.
The traditional dolphin slaughter, in which the marine mammals are herded into a cove and then killed in the water, has been widely condemned by animal rights activists in recent years.
In 2007 Australian actress Isabel Lucas took part in a protest against the cull, paddling out to the dolphins on a surfboard.
The move prompted Japanese police to issue a warrant for her and other's arrest.
The Taiji fishing practice has been under increased pressure following the release of documentary film The Cove.
"Taiji and Broome have a long relationship going back more than 100 years since men from here started going there to dive for pearls," Mayor Ryono told The Australian.
He said that claims the Taiji fishermen killed 23,000 dolphins a year were grossly inflated.
According to the Broome Shire Council, the suspension of relations hinges on the method of killing the dolphins and the fact that their meat contains high levels of mercury.