Local Hero saluted

The Director of the Sea Women of Melanesia program, Naomi Longa has been awarded the Local Hero Award at the 2021 Blue Marine Foundation Ocean Awards.

10 May 2021


The Sea Women of Melanesia (SWoM)  program aims to empower indigenous Papua New Guinean women through scuba diving and marine science skills, enabling them to take an active role in creating and monitoring marine protected areas within their local region.

Longa has a Bachelor of Science in Biology and said she is pleased the Award will bring awareness of the need for conservation in the region.

She and her team have trained around 30 women in Papua New Guinea (PNG), 20 in the Solomon Islands and more are undergoing training in Kimbe and Alotau to monitor marine resources.

“This award will encourage women and men to take action in their own communities to look after their marine resources such as reefs, mangroves and fish,” said Longa.

Founder of the Coral Sea Foundation, Dr Andy Lewis expressed gratitude to the Blue Marine Foundation for honouring Longa and the Sea Women of Melanesia Program with the Local Hero Award.


“The international recognition is important for raising global awareness of the biodiversity of the PNG Coral Triangle reefs and the outstanding marine conservation work of the SWoM teams in PNG and Solomon Islands over the past 18 months,” he said.

“Throughout the pandemic under difficult circumstances, the Sea Women have kept up their marine conservation work, delivering humanitarian aid to remote villages. Also, documenting the health of PNG’s coral reefs as they suffered the most widespread bleaching even of the past 15 years.”

The group wishes to acknowledge its fantastic supporter network, in particular platinum partners at Unico Conservation Foundation and the Jock Clough Marine Foundation, whose significant donations have facilitated the development and expansion of the Sea Women of Melanesia program to date.





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