2 Mar 2017

Conference aims to map out Pacific whale conservation

10:03 am on 2 March 2017

An historic conference in Tonga hopes to map out the future of whale conservation for the region.

Humpback whale

Humpback whale Photo: SPREP

The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme has announced the first ever Pacific Whale conference will be held in April.

The event will focus on emerging threats to whales and investigate future legislative and research needs.

SPREP's threatened and migratory species adviser Michael Donoghue said although whales had come back from the brink of extinction, they are now at significant risk from a number of emerging threats.

"They're facing a whole lot of new threats in an ocean whose chemistry is changing," he said.

"There there are far more fishing vessels than there used to be, where there's far more marine debris, where the climate is impacting quite seriously in all kinds of ways in the oceans, where there is more noise than there used to be."

Mr Donoghue said the Pacific Ocean contains half the known species of whales and dolphins.

'Whales in a Changing Ocean' will be held in Nuku'alofa, Tonga from April 4-6.

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