Wednesday, 29 October 2008 00:00 By Therese Hart - Variety News Staff
HAGÅTÑA — Over 800 individually signed letters were submitted to Congresswoman Madeleine Z. Bordallo on Monday opposing the Marianas Trench monument proposal.
In addition, over 2,000 e-mails from the Billfish Foundation and 200 e-mails from local fishermen and those opposing the creation of the marine national monument in the Marianas were submitted to the White House Council on Environmental Quality.
Bordallo, D-Guam, said on Monday that she opposed the use of the Antiquities Act to create marine national monuments.
“The president’s use of the Antiquities Act does not take into consideration the public consultation of stakeholders in the creation of a marine national monument,” Bordallo said.
She sent a letter last Friday to James Connaughton of the President’s Council on Environmental Quality stating her position.
“I received from Manny Duenas and the Guam Fisherman’s Cooperative Association over 800 letters from residents of Guam and the CNMI. I will be sending these immediately to Washington, D.C. and my office will deliver them to Chairman Connaughton,” said Bordallo.
Manny Duenas, president of the co-op, said that although the deadline to submit letters and petitions was Monday, he and his group will continue receiving testimony and submit them to the congresswoman’s office.
“We’re going to continue to collect original signed letters from people and offer our concerns over the issues for Guam and the whole Marianas,” Duenas said.
The Billfish Foundation, a non-profit organization, was founded in 1986 with a mission of conserving billfish worldwide.
“The Billfish Foundation promotes recreational fishing and conservation measures for responsible fisheries management. They feel that the president’s order is very discriminatory and the implication that the foundation is part of this so-called ‘destructive fishing practice’ that Pew and other organizations are putting forth to the world and that this is what’s going on in the Marianas is not true,” Duenas said.
He added that recreational fishing in the Marianas never has and never will equate to destructive fishing or mineral extraction practices.
Local fishermen said they are not responsible for over-fishing in regional surrounding waters and should not be penalized for the acts in other jurisdictions that use equipment and practices that do not support sustainable use or responsible conservation and management of fishing practices.