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Discussion document on use of whale bone released

6 November 2007

Discussion document on use of whale bone released

Simplifying the process whereby whale bone can be used for things like carving is included in a discussion document released today by Minister of Conservation Steve Chadwick.

“At any whale stranding, DOC’s first priority is and remains an attempt to mount a rescue,” the Minister said.

“If this is unsuccessful, the focus then becomes animal welfare, species conservation, Māori culture, science and education.”

The new system to regulate the use of whale bone proposes a unique identification number be assigned to any dead whale, ensuring the bone can be permanently identified and that any whale bone traded within New Zealand has come from a legitimate source.

“Our current system is cumbersome and costly, requiring up to four separate processes from the time whale bone is removed from a beach to the time it might be used, say, as a gift,” Steve Chadwick said.

“The new system proposed is simpler, cheaper, and easy for everyone to comply with. It will also strengthen our international obligations for the protection of whales.”

The discussion document proposes that the involvement of iwi/hapu in the management of whale strandings be included under the Marine Mammals Protection Act, reflecting current best practice and recognising the special relationship between whales and Maori.

These proposed new measures apply to the domestic trade in whale bone only. The international trade in whale bone comes under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES) and is controlled by a separate permit system.

Closing date for submissions on the discussion paper is 1 March 2008. See www.doc.govt.nz/whalebone, whalebone@doc.govt.nz

ENDS

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