Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Taotao Tano likes the idea of a park

Taotao Tano has come out as the first group in the CNMI to publicly support the Mariana Trench Marine National Monument. Their president, Greg Cruz, outlined their position on the "National Park of the Sea" in a letter to the Marianas Variety today. Here is the letter:

Letter to the Editor: Taotao Tano’s position on the ‘National Park of the Sea’

TAOTAO Tano has seen the proposal for a “National Park of the Sea” from the Pew Environmental Group and we support this idea. We are not ready to give the project a yes or a no just yet, but we like the idea and would like to discuss this idea further with federal and local officials.

The National Park of the Sea would create local jobs, lead to more science, education, and research opportunities, and result in a visitor center highlighting our local cultures, volcanoes, coral reefs, and the Marianas Trench. It would also garner worldwide attention, giving our tourism industry a much needed boost.

It is our understanding that under this proposal no commercial or sport fishing would be allowed. Additionally, with increased enforcement, it would be more difficult for illegal foreign fishing vessels to fish in our waters. Furthermore, the proposal as currently written would allow indigenous cultural fishing.

Some have asked the question, “What if sometime in the future we find something of value that can be extracted from this area?”

Taotao Tano’s position is that anything found up there should remain up there. The federal and the local governments should not be allowed to corrupt it. If there is anything of value up there, it should benefit the NMD people, not the local government.

We urge the governor and the Legislature to consider this proposal. Please consider the people and the benefits of a globally recognized marine park.

Let’s stop the mentality of a flat out NO or YES, but rather let’s talk. Let’s find out more about it. This is too good an opportunity for our government to dismiss without knowing more.

GREGORIO CRUZ
Taotao Tano