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NZ and Australia to work on whale strandings

27 September 2005

NZ and Australia to work on whale strandings

New Zealand and Australia have struck up an agreement to improve the methods both countries use to save stranded whales, Conservation Minister Chris Carter said today.

"Following discussions between Australia's Environment Minister, Senator Ian Campbell, and myself, our two countries are to explore a comprehensive working relationship to improve all aspects of whale stranding management on both sides of the Tasman, " Mr Carter said.

"Whale strandings are a significant issue for Australia, as they are for New Zealand, and there are important techniques and areas of knowledge we can learn from each other.

"For instance, Australia's Department of Environment and Heritage has expertise in rescuing large whales, and untangling them from fishing gear and other equipment.

"In contrast, New Zealand's Department of Conservation is experienced in planning for and dealing with major stranding events involving a number of whales, and co-ordinating community groups, Maori and volunteers in rescue efforts."

Mr Carter said a key part of the new agreement was to exchange information about strandings so a clearer picture might be formed about why they occurred and the factors common to them.

"New Zealand and Australia work side by side on the world stage to protect and conserve whales. This agreement is a logical extension of that relationship, and I am confident it will achieve tangible results," Mr Carter said.

ENDS

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