Friday, August 01, 2008

Chamorro Fishing Rights Debated

Native fishing rights nets debate at Legislature
by Clynt Ridgell, KUAM News
Friday, August 01, 2008

The Guam Legislature was filled to capacity as activists and agriculture officials testified on legislation on Thursday that would provide special fishing rights to native Chamorros. Josephine Jackson has spearheaded several protests to promote native fishing rights.

She testified, "We're not saying anything about the preserve is bad but you know give us Chamorros the Taotaotano to go fishing in our own homeland. It's been 11 years since the preserve was open and just recently just last year two of our people got arrested and ever since last year they started opening the preserves little by little so what we're trying to do is open the preserve for the Chamorros here on Guam to go start fishing in our ocean waters.

Bill 327 would allow for special rights for chamorros to off-shore fishing and harvesting of resources. According to the Department of Agriculture's Acting Chief of the Aquatic and Wildlife Division Tino Aguon by allowing fishing in marine preserves it would hamper efforts to replenish fish stocks.

Aguon said, "We are at a stage in which we've set up these marine preserves areas and basically the way the bill is written will provide basically negate many of the accomplishments and land mark forward accomplishments and great strides that we've done to regain and restore a lot of the marine resources that we enjoy in those marine protected areas."

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