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NUKU‘ALOFA, Tonga (August 27, 2002 – Radio Australia)---An effort is under way to reintroduce limited whaling in Tongan waters.

A group of the kingdom's MPs recently voted to ask the government to allow what they call traditional whaling on a limited basis.

Tonga has banned whaling within its 200-mile exclusive economic zone, in line with efforts sponsored by Australia and New Zealand to create a South Pacific whale sanctuary.

One of the MPs who supports a return to limited whaling, Fred Sevele, says Tongan tradition should not be ignored.

"The history of whaling here goes back over 100 years. It may even extend to over 200 years," he said, "and we have always had that. It's a limited number a year.

"Whale meat has always been regarded as a delicacy by Tongans," MP Sevele added.

For additional reports from Radio Australia, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Radio Australia.

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