Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Tiny Tokelau Makes A Stand

Whales have another Pacific ally – the 3-island territory of Tokelau has declared itself a whale sanctuary.
The tiny country (land area just 12 sq.km/5 sq.miles, 500km north of Samoa) has outlawed whaling in its 290,000 sq.km/116,000 sq.mile exclusive economic zone. This lifts the number of protected areas in the Pacific to eleven: that's 18 million sq.km/7.2 million sq.miles off-limits to whaling. Tokelau Islands stamps featuring whales circa 1970s
Those eleven Pacific nations and territories with sanctuaries are: Australia, Cook Islands, Fiji, French Polynesia, New Caledonia, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Tokelau, American Samoa and Vanuatu. Two nations (New Zealand and Tonga) and two territories (Guam and the Northern Marianas) have banned the taking of whales from their economic zones but have not declared sanctuary areas.
It's well documented that Japan aids numerous small countries financially - perhaps to secure support for their whaling interests: it will be interesting to see if Japan ceases its aid to the Tokelaus in response...
PS: 14 April 2010 - The UK has created the world’s largest marine reserve, covering some 858,000 sq.km/a quarter of a million sq.miles around the Chagos Archipelago (in the centre of the Indian Ocean) - one of the most pristine and biologically diverse coral ecosystems on the planet. This is a huge success for marine conservation, given that the protected area is bigger than the whole of France! It nearly doubles the total amount of ocean now off-limits to commercial fishing, and comprises 40% of the world's marine reserves!
Sadly, the recent history of the Chagos reads like a political thriller, with secret payments and deals, forced removal of citizens, racism, nuclear airbases...shocking! If the name "Chagos" is unfamiliar, think US Air Force base, Diego Garcia: it's the same place.


Anelise said...

This is great! I hope more follow this example. Now we need to get involved with the sharks too!

Anonymous said...

This means next to nothing! How many whales are hunting in their territory before they "made a stand"? I don't allow elephant hunting on my land in Idaho. I guess I'm a conservationist too.

Philbee, said...

Hi, Robbie:
Well, it's a principle, isn't it.
If you DID have elephants roaming free in Idaho and you declared your land a sanctuary, you wouldn't be happy if I charged in with guns blazing...
mind you, that raises a good question: just what WOULD/COULD Tokelau do, if the Japs decided to do just that???!!!

Anonymous said...

Ha! Not rely on New Zealand, for a start!