30 Jul 2003

Tongan whale watchers call for a whale sanctuary

3:28 pm on 30 July 2003

A new organisation is to push the Tonga Government to declare the country's waters a whale sanctuary.

The Tonga Whale Conservation Association is made up of whale watching operators who are also calling on the government to regulate the industry.

The Director of Whales Alive Tonga, Filipe Tonga, says much more needs to be done to ensure the future of the whale watching.

"What I really want to see is the guidelines to be regulated, and I think that's the only way you can control the industry, make the guidelines become regulation, you will see then the people will start to be aware of what they're supposed to do, and also people taking people out whale watching - they need to be educated."

Filipe Tonga says they're also calling on the government to streamline the licensing process.

Niue, Fiji and the Cook Islands have all declared whale sanctuaries.