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Owner of Vaka & Moana company in Vava’u says the number of whale watching operators should be reduced to less than 20

Radio & TV Tonga, Nuku’alofa, 12/04/2017

Tongan operator of Whale watching company Vaka and Moana in Vava’u says she’s very concerned about the number of whale watching operators in Vava’u.

‘Aunofo Havea Funaki has a 26 experience of working in the male dominated marine industry in the kingdom.

She says there is too much traffic in small areas around Vava’u for whale watching, and believe operators should be less than 20.

‘Aunofo Funaki says too many boats in Vava’u affects the whales by bringing noise pollution and too much fuel in the sea.

However, Funaki says it is up to government to make a decision for the whole of Tonga.

Despite it’s being too late, Funaki trusts that after the Whale in a changing Ocean conference in Nuku’alofa, the leaders will come up with a decision to make Tonga a sustainable tourism location – the top in the world.

Aunofo Havea Funaki is the sailor of Vaka Motu the canoe or kalia that sailed last year using solar energy.

The Whale in a changing ocean conference was held in Nukualofa last week drawing 11 countries in the region to eventually sign the Whale Declaration creating a whale sanctuary in the Pacific

Interesting comments were made by callers of the Talk back show yesterday on the whale watching business.  Semi of Kolofo’ou said if Tonga gets only more than 6 hundred thousand pa’anga share from the over 3 million industries. then he believes it will be better to consume whales, maybe two a month because it is healthier for our people.

Semi estimates that 67 percent of the whale watching business goes to overseas companies, and only 22 percent is obtained by Tongan operators and the other 11 percent is through partnerships of Tongan and foreign owners.

Another caller said, since the moratorium on whaling in the late 1970s, nothing dramatic has happened and people’s healths are solely up to individuals and not dependent on eating whale meat.

© Radio and Television Tonga News