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Australia and NZ collaborate on Pacific whales

21 April 2006

Australia and NZ collaborate on Pacific whales

New Zealand's Conservation Minister Chris Carter and Australia's Environment and Heritage Minister, Senator Ian Campbell, today announced a collaborative effort to further the protection of whales and dolphins in the South Pacific.

The announcement follows official talks in Sydney between Australia, New Zealand and the Secretariat for the Pacific Regional Environment Programme.

"The people of New Zealand and Australia share a mutual admiration for the whales and dolphins that live around our respective coastlines, and a deep concern about the uncertain future these species face," Mr Carter said.

"In recognition of this, New Zealand and Australia have agreed to broaden our partnership on whale conservation beyond the close relationship we already maintain at the International Whaling Commission."

"We have laid down a framework for collaborative programmes on issues such as whale strandings, scientific sampling, staff training, marine mammal tourism, research and fisheries interactions.

"By improving our interchange of information and expertise, the ability of both our nations to reach out and assist other smaller South Pacific countries with whale conservation will be considerably enhanced," Mr Carter said.

"For New Zealand's part, we are embarking on three important whale and dolphin conservation initiatives in the South Pacific.

"Firstly, we will fund and conduct a training and survey programme in both Kiribati and Tuvalu to establish baseline information about whales and dolphins in their waters. Secondly, we will host a whale strandings management workshop later this year for Pacific Island participants. And finally, we have recently completed guidelines for minimising acoustic disturbance to marine mammals, which will be available to South Pacific countries.

"As in so many things, New Zealand and Australia lead the world in whale conservation. Together we can use this knowledge to ensure the waters of the South Pacific remain a safe home for some of the most remarkable mammals on earth," Mr Carter said.

ENDS

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