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SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, September 18) – Fiji has signed an agreement with nine other Pacific Island countries to conserve whales, dolphins and their habitats.

The signing took place during the Pacific Regional Environment Program (SPREP) environment ministers meeting in Noumea, New Caledonia on Friday.

The Memorandum of Understanding was for the conservation of cetaceans and their habitats, to provide an umbrella for the island nations to work together on cetacean issues.

Fiji, Australia, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, France, New Zealand, Niue, Samoa and Vanuatu were signatories of the agreement.

A SPREP statement said by signing the agreement, the countries agreed to co-operate and reinforce efforts to protect and conserve all cetaceans that occur in the Pacific Island region.

SPREP executive director Asterio Takesy said healthy marine environments were fundamental to Pacific islands' culture, heritage and livelihoods.

September 19, 2006

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