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Carter to visit Kiribati to discuss conservation

17 May 2006

Carter to visit Kiribati to discuss marine conservation

Conservation Minister Chris Carter is to visit Kiribati this week as part of a programme to discuss marine conservation issues with key Pacific nations ahead of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) annual meeting in June.

"The numbers at this year's IWC meeting are very finely balanced. It looks increasingly likely the pro-whaling nations will achieve a majority on the Commission for the first time. The votes of all members of the Commission, including countries from the Pacific, could prove crucial," Mr Carter said.

"Kiribati has voted with pro-whaling nations at the IWC before, but it has also recently demonstrated a genuine commitment to marine conservation by announcing the creation of the third largest marine protected area in the world, and the largest for a developing country.

"The intention of my visit is to congratulate Kiribati on this initiative, and offer funding from New Zealand to help Kiribati conduct a training and survey programme to establish baseline information about whales and dolphins in its waters," Mr Carter said.

Mr Carter is also hoping to meet with representatives of the governments of Nauru and the Solomon Islands while transiting through those nations. He will be away from Wed 17 May to Saturday 20 May.

The visit to Kiribati follows an earlier visit to Tuvalu to discuss similar issues.

ENDS

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