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Tonga's Prime Minister receives ‘Shepherd of the Sea' Award

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13 August 2012. Tonga's Prime Minister. Lord Tu'ivakano, was awarded the ‘Shepherd of the Sea Award', in recognition of the Government's stewardship of the Whale sanctuary and Tonga's long-standing commitment to its whales and to marine conservation.

The award was presented to the Minister for Labour, Commerce & Tourism, Hon. Dr. Viliami Uasike Latu, who received the award on behalf of the Prime Minister. The presentation was led by founder of the Shark Angels, Julie Andersen, who came to Tonga with an eight-member team made up of partnerships between the Shark Angels and the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.

The Shark Angelis is a global organization to protect sharks and marine ecosystems. The team includes Rob Barrel, the owner/operator of Na'ia Cruises (Fiji-based dive operation), Conservationist and Film maker, Lavinia Currier (Hala'wa Valley, Hawaii), best-selling author and Founder of Collaboration for Conservation, Dr. Sarah Fisk, Marine ecosystems masters student, Mathers Rowley and Huffington Post journalists, Sea Shepherd Manager, Deborah Basset (Honolulu office). The team was accommodated by local counterpart, Sione Tupouniua.

This is the first mission of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and Shark Angels to the South Pacific to gather information and seek relationships with South Pacific Nation partners to discover how best to support their efforts to protect whales and sharks across borders.

Tonga has been well-known for its cultural and traditional relationship with the sharks as in legends and its continued commitment to the development of its marine ecosystems.

While in Tonga, the Sea Shepherds Society/Shark Angels will visit the Ha'apai Islands, invite Government officials and community leaders on whale watching tour onboard the Na'ia, to learn more about what the Sea Shepherd/Shark Angels can collaborate with the Government of Tonga in the future to protect marine animals and ensure their sustainable long-term protection.

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and the Shark Angels wishes to offer their experience and assistance in the process, working together with local government and communities to developing a mutually successful partnership with the Government and the people of Tonga.

END

Issued by the: Ministry of Information and Communications, Nuku'alofa, 2012.


 

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