9 May 2006

Tuvalu confirms sustainable whaling policy

3:26 pm on 9 May 2006

Tuvalu says it will maintain its policy of sustainable whaling despite a New Zealand effort to have it change its stance.

The news agency, Pacnews, quotes an unnamed Tuvalu official as saying that it has maintained the policy since joining the International Whaling Commission.

The comment comes after New Zealand's conservation minister, Chris Carter, visited Funafuti.

The Tuvalu official described the visit as an apparent bid by New Zealand and Australia to get Tuvalu to vote against pro-whaling nations like Japan and Norway.

Mr Carter says Tuvalu has voted with the pro-whaling nations before, but Tuvalu is also a member of the Pacific community where whale conservation and eco-tourism offers considerable economic opportunities.

New Zealand has agreed to spend 112,000 US dollars to conduct a training and survey programme in Tuvalu to get information about whales and dolphins in its waters.