17 May 2002

Niue establishes whale sanctuary

9:39 am on 17 May 2002

Niue has announced the establishment of a whale sanctuary that covers its exclusive economic zone.

A new law prohibits the killing and harming of the mammals, with breaches carrying a maximum penalty of three months in prison.

The environment minister, Toke Talagi, says the sanctuary is to highlight the importance of conservation.

"But at the same time Niue has a desire to have a whale sanctuary for the whales, porpoises and dolphins because it can also see benefits to its tourism industry with respect to this, and I think one of the things we want to do is ensure that there is no disturbance to these whales."

Niue's environment minister, Toke Talagi.

Papua New Guinea and French Polynesia have also declared whale sanctuaries.