14 Apr 2010

Tokelau declares whale sanctuary in its waters

4:07 pm on 14 April 2010

Tokelau has declared its waters a whale sanctuary, the eleventh be created in the Pacific.

The territory declared its 20,000 square kilometres of exclusive economic zone safe for whales at a gathering of the South Pacific Whale Research Consortium in New Zealand on Wednesday.

The consortium hopes Tokelau's support will put pressure on the International Whaling Commission to enforce a moratorium on whaling.

A representative from Tokelau, Foua Toloa, says the territory shares a common responsibility with its neighbours to protect whales.

"I believe it is adding to the solidarity of the Pacific and issues like this, especially when it's a very important resource for Tokelau and the rest of the Pacific."

Mr Toloa says New Zealand used to be at the forefront of anti-whaling and hopes it will create a sanctuary in its waters also.