Monday, January 21, 2008

Starting to Notice

While perusing the blogosphere this evening I came across the blog of a Japanese tourist named Midori. She wrote this poem:
The sea of Mariana Islands has very good transparency and is beautiful.
Im visited the 5 Saipan.
But, fish decreased again.
Maine of this season. The crowd of eagle Ray disappears.
The fish are afraid of a human being.

We human being has injured the sea.
We must not injure the sea more than this.

We must protect the sea.
For children future as for it.

I continue taking the photograph of the sea.
To convey the beauty of the sea.
And to convey the importance of the sea.
MVA should be scared out of their minds right now knowing that people are taking stories home to Japan about the disappearance of our Eagle Rays.

Saipan is known for being a place where up to 70 Eagle Rays can be observed swimming at one time, particularly at two dive sites called Eagle Ray City and Ice Cream.

That this was written and published on the Internet is a very bad thing. Notice that Midori didn't say there was a reduction in the population. She says they have disappeared. It is now Eagle Ray season. Saipan went from Eagle Ray hot spot to Eagle Ray NOT spot in just one year. Not only that, according to Midori the number of fish in our waters has decreased again.

Want to know how the environment affects our economy? If too many stories like this continue to be written, we're all going to find out very soon. Stories like this will kill our diving and our tourism industry.

What are we going to do about it?


scubatripp said...

First and foremost we must do everything we can to protect the rays that are out there.

Reports from dive operators and dive boat captains this year indicate that there are a number of small juvenile rays inside the lagoon. So they are not gone but they need our help in order to survive to maturity and reproduce.

The Senators had the sense to recognize this issue was a serious problem and quickly passed into law regulations that allow DFW, CRM and DEQ to enforce and charge anyone disturbing the rays.

Now it is the responsibility of the DFW enforcement team to stop crying about not enough money or manpower and find ways to effectively protect these creatures. A 24 hour patrol of Eagle Ray city may seem excessive but not if it saves the rays and the dive industry.

It is also necessary to get the message across to all ethnic groups that they will get caught and go to jail if apprehended.

We might also start with banning shark fin soup and any shark or ray parts from being sold here. With serious penalties for those caught. Rays are often used as substitute parts and in many Asian cultures are consumed in large quantities. Shark fin soup is on the menu in restaurants on Saipan.

We would also be amiss if we discarded theories of global climate change or non-point source solution affecting the habitat of these rays. Could this also be a transient loss of the population only to see them return again when conditions are right? Lets hope so but lets also not put all the eggs in this basket.

Everything we do on land affects what happens in the water so even if you are not fishing for Eagle rays you must do your part to conserve and protect by reducing your own impact on the coral reefs.

MVA should and is scarred of this trend and so should every citizen who calls this place home. MVA should be pressured into putting funds behind an education program NOW. As was pointed out in a recent MVA meeting with dive industry stake holders if we do not take measures to protect our reefs now there will be no dive industry in the future and if this becomes so it is my opinion that we will never have a tourism industry worth fighting for.

We had quite a movement spring up seemingly over night when the grotto was threatened by a monorail - how about organization of a group dedicated to the protection of our rays. I'm available any time of the day or night for this one.


Marianas Eye said...

This would make a good story for the paper. If you're not going to use it, let me know, and I'll "columnize" it.

CNMI Blogger said...


Thank you for all the great info needed for the House to improve upon and pass this important legislation. The insight that you and the folks from Fish & Wild Life provided the Natural Resources Committee on the legislation was really valuable.

I'm with you on stepping up a sustained campaign to raise public awareness and concern about the protection of the Rays. Perhaps they can be put in the same group as the turtles that Beautify CNMI!'s Micronesian Challenge Committee is working on. That's right -- the same we started with my friend Lynne Bruzzese.

Anyway, I'm proud to have done my small part in helping in the Rays protection and preservation.

erick said...

I know this is a little late and this post is a bit old, but i thought I'd add my 2 cents for what it's worth...
I've just come back from diving at Saipan this weekend and I have to say it was as exciting and memorable as the first time I went there.
I first dove Saipan 2 1/2 years ago and one of the most amazing experiences was diving eagle ray city. I had been dying to come back to Saipan for 2 years since but couldn't because of the cancellation of flights from Osaka(where I lived) to saipan.
Now that I live in Tokyo, I had the opportunity to return(because of the overnight flights from Tokyo). To my surprise, I learned that Eagle Ray City was not 'good' for diving anymore as there were very few to no 'rays' in that spot anymore. This is a very sad state of affairs and one I feel needs attention. Talking to many divers in Japan(cuz that's where I live), they expressed their desire to either return to this spot or to dive it for the first time. It was very sad that I couldn't 'relive' the experience I had over 2 years ago. Don't get me wrong, Saipan as a whole, I feel, is an excellent location for diving. In my opinion, better than Guam!! But there are some prohibitive factors which prevent it from being the dominant diving location. For one, the cancellation of overnight flights from Osaka to Saipan. As well, the price of landing/flying from Tokyo to Saipan has increased and is now more expensive than flying to Guam. It used to be that Saipan was cheaper than Guam but now that has changed. This is too bad, as I mentioned, many divers(and tourists alike) would love to come to Saipan to enjoy it's culture and what the island has to offer but can't due to these conditions. On top, of one of it's most beautiful attractions(Eagle Ray City & Grotto) being diminished hurts an otherwise beautiful place open it's beauty to the world. I hope that in the future(sooner than later) these problems and situations could be resolved which would lead to a higher number of people enjoying the spirit of Saipan. I had a wonderful weekend and would love to return but only if things change can this happen!!

The Saipan Blogger アンジェロ・ビラゴメズ said...

Thanks for the comment, EP.