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Samoa marks start of whale awareness initiative

Thursday 14 April 2016 | Published in Regional

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SAMOA – Samoa’s Deputy Prime Minister, Fiame Naomi Mata’afa,has launched a project to raise awareness on whales and their conservation.

The Protect Pacific Whales – Ocean Voyagers Campaign provides an opportunity for Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) and all its members and partners to celebrate these magnificent creatures, she said.

“What happens in the ocean will inevitably impact whales. This campaign will address the problems facing them as ocean-dwellers that will surely ultimately impact us all,” SPREP information about the Pacific-wide launch says.

“The programme of work that is envisaged for the Protect Pacific Whales Campaign is an ambitious mixture of scientific research, training and capacity-building, exchange of information, and cultural and artistic celebration.

“We invite you to join SPREP in celebrating whales and their place in Pacific cultures, promote their protection in the face of emerging threats, support measures to enhance their conservation, and to maximise the economic return available to Pacific island communities from the development and application of best-practice guidelines for whale-watching.”

“The Pacific region is home to over half the world’s species of cetaceans, whales and dolphins, including some of the least known and as such 2016-2017 has been endorsed by SPREP members as the Year of the Whale in the Pacific islands.

“For centuries, whales have played a central role in many Pacific Island cultures.

“After decades of over-exploitation in the past two centuries, many whale species are now recovering from the brink of extinction, only to be confronted with a suite of new problems associated with a changing ocean.” - Samoa Observer