Call in Niue to stop whale watch tours
A Niue woman is calling for an end to whale watching tours because she says the whales are harassed and the island is not fulfilling its obligations as a sanctuary for the mammals.
A Niue woman estimates 95 percent of the population is opposed to whale watching tours and want them stopped.
Noga Bray says the tours harass the whales.
Earlier this month the director of tourism, Vanessa Marsh, dismissed complaints and says operators are working within new regulations they have brought in.
Don Wiseman asked Noga Bray what is wrong with the tours.
NOGA BRAY: Everything in what she said is wrong and she knows that. It is terribly wrong the way they have been harassing those whales. And if she came out and said that the whales are not harassed, well she is so blind and don't want to know what is going on. The promotion for the whale watching is interact with the whales. When you interact with the whales you go straight up to them and we the people of Niue has watched this for years. How they chase these whales up and down the coastline and it is a everyday occurrence where there is whales. It is not just a one off. And people that have watched from the cliff tops have seen and witnessed this. They bail them up from the front, they chase them from the back they did everything and when they get near to the whales they jump in to interact and that is when the whales dive and disperse. They separate them and yet Niue is supposed to be a sanctuary. Niue was one of the eleven countries in the South Pacific that signed a MOU to have their region as a protect the whales and also a Sanctuary. And on that brochure they advertise and promote whale watching is the only country in the world that can interact with the whales.
DON WISEMAN: What do you want to see happen?
NB: To stop it altogether, whale watching to stop. Because Niue is a unique place we are much, much higher on the cliff tops and you can watch these beautiful whales from where you stand. Land based whale watching for everyone to watch these animals. And you watch them for a long long time half an hour to an hour. And watch them from 20 metres to 30 metres in some areas instead of going into the water and harass them. Just leave them alone because these whales go to the warm place, the warm waters for a purpose. They travel all the way from Antarctic they don't eat on their way they don't eat anything while they are in the warm waters in wherever they are or in Niue for the purpose is to have the young ones. And then they mate and then head back to Antarctic for the summer where they can fill themselves up with tonnes of krill.
DW: You are leading a campaign on the island to remove these whale watching groups?
DW: How are you going about that?
NB: I would say 95 percent of the Niuean people are behind this and they want to stop because they are distracting and they are harassing these whales. So our next step would be a petition to government as I said earlier, Niue is supposed to be a sanctuary and there has never been a regulations put out by the fisheries or the government until two weeks ago on the first of June they put out a regulation only because the people start to say something. And also the director of tourism has conflict of interest on the issue because she is a partner to one of the operators.
To embed this content on your own webpage, cut and paste the following: