FIJI exports 225 whales tooth every year to relatives living overseas for traditional and important functions.
The high number of export annually has prompted the Ministry of Environment to closely monitor the movement of tabua (whale's tooth) from our shores to foreign land ensuring it does not exceed 225.
Speaking at the Macuata Province Environment Management Awareness workshop in Labasa yesterday, environment officer Miliana Navia said the monitoring process was to help protect endangered species such as whales.
"As whales are becoming endangered in our island nation, we are closely monitoring the export of tabua under the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna to maintain the normal trade," she said.
"Most of our relatives in overseas contact us for tabua for special functions and there is a permit levied for the export.
"A permit costs $30.75 for three tabua and our relatives overseas are making use of this permit for the item."
Ms Navia said countries like New Zealand, Australia, United States of America and China buy tabua from Fiji.
"This trade also strengthens our traditional ties and we are grateful our relatives overseas are still intact with our culture and tradition," she said.