13 Jun 2016

Tourists aren't bothering whales - Niue

10:34 am on 13 June 2016

Niue's director of tourism has quashed claims that humpback whales that visit the island's waters each winter are being harassed by tourists.

A photo of a humpback whale tail taken during an annual survey in the Cook Strait.

The tail from a humpback whale. Photo: DoC Cook Strait Whale Survey

A number of people have expressed concern at the level of interaction tourists have with the mammals, and how close they get to them.

Niue's waters are considered to be a sanctuary for the whales, which bring a lot of people to the region to see them.

The tourism director, Vanessa Marsh, said there was no substantial evidence to suggest tourism operators were breaking the rules.

"The whole perception of distance from when you are observing something on land to when you're out at sea, the distances are very hard to compare and unless you're using specialised equipment to be able to tell you how far point A is from point B it can get quite distorted and you can't hand on heart or 100 percent say this vessel approached closer than 50 metres to a whale," said Ms Marsh.

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