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NZ To Convene Regional Workshop On Whales

Prime Minister Helen Clark announced today that New Zealand will convene a regional workshop on the proposed South Pacific Whale Sanctuary.

Helen Clark said the Pacific Island Forum communique records the agreement of the Forum's environment ministers, meeting in Guam on 13 October, to support efforts to promote the adoption of a sanctuary.

"The Forum countries noted that a whale sanctuary in the South Pacific would not only protect the breeding grounds of the great whale species in the Southern Hemisphere, but also bring economic benefits to some Forum members, for example through whale-watching and associated eco-tourism development.

"More regional support and understanding is important if we are to succeed in getting International Whaling Commission agreement to a South Pacific Whale Sanctuary proposal.

"A workshop bringing together Forum members, scientists and non-governmental representatives will provide an opportunity to update everyone on the scientific issues and the eco-tourism spin-offs of whale conservation.

"The communique from the Forum leaders' meeting welcomes New Zealand's offer to convene and provide financial support towards the workshop. It will be held in New Zealand early next year," Helen Clark said.

Ends

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