Friday, August 29, 2008

Educational Opportunities

One of the benefits we have been touting of the proposed Mariana Trench Marine National Monument is the potential increase in educational and research opportunities. These opportunities would be for the children and students living here, but there could also be applications for students living elsewhere.

For example, National Geographic has a great lesson plan on the Mariana Trench.
The Mariana Trench is the deepest location on the entire Earth. If you set Mt. Everest down in the Mariana Trench, there would still be over 7,000 feet of water above it. What's down there? How are we able to explore such deep seas? How might the resources of the deep sea benefit people on land? In this two-part lesson, students explore the From Sea to Shining Sea map (PDF, Adobe Reader required) to learn about the Mariana Trench's location, who has jurisdiction over it, what lives down there and how we can reach it, and why its resources are of value. Then students will learn about the increasing accessibility and vulnerability of deep-sea resources as they consider how the Mariana Trench's natural assets could affect communities worldwide. Although the Trench is a remote and harsh environment, students will come to understand the global value of researching and exploring its varied resources.
I find it exciting that the Mariana Islands are a part of the lesson plan and that one of the lessons learned is how the ocean environment relates to the people living on the land.

When I first came back to Saipan the slogan we came up with for our coral reef project was "What we do on the land can affect our marine environment." It works the other way around, too.

******
Speaking of education and research, the scientific report titled "A Scientific Case for the Mariana Trench Marine National Monument" is now available online. I also have hard copies in the office. We just got them today. If you want one, swing by to pick one up. If you are off island, shoot me an email and I'll snail mail you one.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Last Call for Ocean Blogs

I am hosting Carnival of the Blue XVI on Monday. So far only one Saipan blogger has sent me a link for a CNMI ocean blog. Come on, there have to be others. Send me your link by Monday.

Get Together

Please join me tonight at Hawaii Bar & Grill to celebrate the President's announcement of the monument assessment. I've got a soccer game at 5, so I'll probably be there around 7:30 PM. See you tonight.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

My Office Companion

Oreo KenobiThis blog has been way too political the last few days. Why, it has been almost five days since I posted something not related to the proposed Mariana Trench Marine National Monument. I figure it is time for a picture and some stories of my award winning, internationally recognized, Saipan's Best Belly Dragging Dog, Oreo Kenobi.

Oreo's been having a grand time as the Monument Office mascot. The office is always busy, so that means there is always someone to rub his belly or play fetch.

oreo kenobi villagomez northern mariana islandsIt has gotten to the point where he is so spoiled that he needs almost constant attention. When we need him out of the way so we can give a presentation I just put him on the shelf above the desktop computer. He hasn't dared jump down yet and doesn't even cry when he's up there. He just waits patiently for us to take him down.

The other day I left a container of office macaroons on one of the tables. I left Oreo in the office alone for a few hours and when I got back, macaroons were scattered across the floor, hidden in corners, under the couch, in the couch, under the table, and basically just everywhere. Stupid dog.



He is entertaining though.

******
On a side note, while editing and uploading videos and pictures of my dog, I noticed that the Governor Benigno Fitial Youtube video is online.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

No Free Hot Dogs

In my travels around the island yesterday people kept coming up to me to tell me how much they loved Richard Dela Cruz' hot dog letter to the editor. I thought the letter was from the heart and it seems to have really struck a cord with a lot of people.
I WANT to write a letter to retract my signing the petition against the proposed marine monument. I signed the petition in exchange for a free hot dog and did not understand what I was signing.

I signed the petition when the carnival was going on. My mom had a booth and I was helping her out. Herman Tudela had a tent down there and he called me over to sign his petition. I didn’t understand what the petition was for, but he told me that I could have a hot dog if I signed.

I wasn’t hungry, but I still wanted the hot dog, so I signed.

Later, when I was talking to one of my cousins he explained to me about the monument. Now that I understand I totally support the monument.

I would like to retract my signature and urge the indigenous to support conservation and the marine monument. I would also like to say sorry to all the other supporters for giving away my signature for something as small as a hot dog.

RICHARD DELA CRUZ
Fina Sisu, Saipan
I'm sure he's already heard it from several people, so I'll just add to the chorus. Great letter, Richard.

Mariana Trench in the Media

The story of the proposed monument is featured today in the New York Times, on MSNBC, in the Washington Post, on Nature.com, and in the LA Times.

Locally, the Saipan Tribune has carried two stories on the monument assessment announcement. Yesterday's story was Praise, calls for talks after Bush marine monument proposal and today's story is
Group welcomes talks on marine monument. Yesterday the Marianas Variety carried a story titled Villagomez: Bush will not act unilaterally.

There were also letters to the editor from Bryan Jones, Richard Dela Cruz, and Jesus Cruz Cabrera. Lil Hammerhead has a meta-blog on Richard Dela Cruz' letter.

Edit:

We also were featured in National Geographic News.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Presidential Memo Story on KSPN 2

I was interviewed yesterday afternoon by KSPN on my reaction to the first AP story about the proposed monuments.



I'm looking kind of chubby in this story, but damn, does my hair look good or what? While it is true that the TV makes you look a few pounds heavier, in my case I think it has more to do with the beer and fried chicken.

Discover Magazine

The story on the three monuments has made it onto the pages of the Discover Magazine blog. How cool is that?
President Bush Could Earn a “Blue Legacy” With Marine Conservation Plan

President Bush has proposed protecting vast swaths of marine territory in the South Pacific from commercial fishing and offshore drilling, in a move that some environmentalists have said could earn him a legacy as the “Teddy Roosevelt of the seas.” This week, Bush is expected to ask his Cabinet for comments on conservation proposals for marine ecosystems around the Northern Mariana islands, the Line Islands, and American Samoa.

While the Bush administration’s environmental record has generally received harsh criticism from environmentalists, these proposals are being seen as a cause for celebration. “We have every expectation that the president will move forward on protecting these places sometime in the fall,” said Diane Regas, ocean program director at Environmental Defense Fund. “Today, we put the champagne on ice, and we will pop it open.” Two years ago, the president made a huge swath of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands a national monument, barring fishing, oil and gas extraction and tourism from its waters and coral reefs. The area is the single largest conservation area on the planet [AP].

The new areas suggested for protection include the deepest place on the Earth’s surface, the 36,000-foot-deep Marianas Trench. The waters around the three island chains are rich in biodiversity, and are home to endangered sea turtles, coral reefs, and giant coconut crabs. “These vast Pacific areas are nearly three times the size of Texas,” said Elliott Norse, founder and President of Marine Conservation Biology Institute. “Countless seabirds, dolphins, fishes, corals and tiny things as yet undiscovered could survive as a result, free of the threats that are eliminating them elsewhere” [AP].

Last year, the White House’s Council on Environmental Quality invited a small number of ocean advocates to an unusual, closed-door meeting to discuss the idea. The White House asked them to help identify potential reserves in waters within the United States’ “exclusive economic zone,” which extends 200 nautical miles out from the mainland and U.S.-owned islands around the world [NPR News]. President Bush can use the 1906 Antiquities Act to designate the areas as “marine monuments,” which would allow him to establish these conservation areas quickly, without congressional approval. [emphasis mine]
If the Marianas Visitors Authority was looking for that brand to market our islands, they may have found it with the Mariana Trench. Imagine this:

Saipan: the gateway to the Mariana Trench

or

Marianas: the Grand Canyon of the Ocean

...and it has already appeared in over 1000 newspapers and online news sites...twice.

...and more is on the way.

The Short List

A second story about the proposed three monuments has been issued by the Associated Press. The Commonwealth is mentioned first. Talk about great free international publicity! Here is a sampling of the reach of this story:


Bush seeks to protect 3 remote island chains
The Associated Press - 27 minutes ago
CRAWFORD, Texas (AP) — President Bush on Monday proposed protecting three remote island chains, launching a marine conservation effort that could be one of ...

Bush moves to protect remote Pacific islands in broad conservation ...
Minneapolis Star Tribune, MN - 28 minutes ago
AP By candidate: By donor: CRAWFORD, Texas - President Bush on Monday proposed protecting three remote island chains, launching a marine conservation effort ...

Bush seeks to protect 3 remote island chains
Las Vegas Sun, NV - 29 minutes ago
AP President Bush on Monday proposed protecting three remote island chains, launching a marine conservation effort that could be one of the largest in ...

Bush moves to protect remote Pacific islands in broad conservation ...
Minneapolis Star Tribune, MN - 30 minutes ago
AP By candidate: By donor: CRAWFORD, Texas - President Bush on Monday proposed protecting three remote island chains, launching a marine conservation effort ...

Bush seeks to protect 3 remote island chains
The Benton Crier, IA - 31 minutes ago
CRAWFORD, Texas - President Bush on Monday proposed protecting three remote island chains, launching a marine conservation effort that could be one of the ...

Bush seeks to protect 3 remote island chains
Pioneer Times-Journal, NM - 33 minutes ago
CRAWFORD, Texas - President Bush on Monday proposed protecting three remote island chains, launching a marine conservation effort that could be one of the ...

Bush seeks to protect 3 remote island chains
Chandler News-Dispatch, MN - 33 minutes ago
CRAWFORD, Texas - President Bush on Monday proposed protecting three remote island chains, launching a marine conservation effort that could be one of the ...


Bush seeks to protect 3 remote island chains
Bellingham Herald, WA - 34 minutes ago
AP CRAWFORD, Texas -- President Bush on Monday proposed protecting three remote island chains, launching a marine conservation effort that could be one of ...

Bush seeks to protect 3 remote island chains
Olberlin, KS - 34 minutes ago
CRAWFORD, Texas - President Bush on Monday proposed protecting three remote island chains, launching a marine conservation effort that could be one of the ...

Bush seeks to protect 3 remote island chains
Prescott Herald, AZ - 35 minutes ago
CRAWFORD, Texas - President Bush on Monday proposed protecting three remote island chains, launching a marine conservation effort that could be one of the ...

Bush seeks to protect 3 remote island chains
Ottawa Recorder, Canada - 35 minutes ago
CRAWFORD, Texas - President Bush on Monday proposed protecting three remote island chains, launching a marine conservation effort that could be one of the ...


Bush seeks to protect 3 remote island chains
Brocktown News, USA - 36 minutes ago
CRAWFORD, Texas - President Bush on Monday proposed protecting three remote island chains, launching a marine conservation effort that could be one of the ...

Bush seeks to protect 3 remote island chains
Forbes, NY - 38 minutes ago
AP 08.25.08, 4:09 PM ET President Bush on Monday proposed protecting three remote island chains, launching a marine conservation effort that could be one of ...

Bush seeks to protect 3 remote island chains
Jackson News-Tribune, WY - 40 minutes ago
CRAWFORD, Texas - President Bush on Monday proposed protecting three remote island chains, launching a marine conservation effort that could be one of the ...

Bush seeks to protect 3 remote island chains
Sky Valley Journal, USA - 40 minutes ago
CRAWFORD, Texas - President Bush on Monday proposed protecting three remote island chains, launching a marine conservation effort that could be one of the ...

Bush seeks to protect 3 remote island chains
Westfall Weekly News, Canada - 40 minutes ago
CRAWFORD, Texas - President Bush on Monday proposed protecting three remote island chains, launching a marine conservation effort that could be one of the ...

Bush seeks to protect 3 remote island chains
Hinesberg Journal, Canada - 41 minutes ago
CRAWFORD, Texas - President Bush on Monday proposed protecting three remote island chains, launching a marine conservation effort that could be one of the ...

Bush seeks to protect 3 remote island chains
PennLive.com, PA - 42 minutes ago
AP CRAWFORD, Texas (AP) — President Bush on Monday proposed protecting three remote island chains, launching a marine conservation effort that could be one ...

Bush seeks to protect 3 remote island chains
Herald News Daily, ND - 43 minutes ago
CRAWFORD, Texas - President Bush on Monday proposed protecting three remote island chains, launching a marine conservation effort that could be one of the ...

Bush seeks to protect 3 remote island chains
Jordan Falls News, Canada - 43 minutes ago
CRAWFORD, Texas - President Bush on Monday proposed protecting three remote island chains, launching a marine conservation effort that could be one of the ...

Bush seeks to protect 3 remote island chains
The Kindred Times, UT - 44 minutes ago
CRAWFORD, Texas - President Bush on Monday proposed protecting three remote island chains, launching a marine conservation effort that could be one of the ...

Bush seeks to protect 3 remote island chains
Howell Times and Transcript, UT - 45 minutes ago
CRAWFORD, Texas - President Bush on Monday proposed protecting three remote island chains, launching a marine conservation effort that could be one of the ...

Bush seeks to protect 3 remote island chains
Lebanon Daily News, PA - 45 minutes ago
AP CRAWFORD, Texas—President Bush on Monday proposed protecting three remote island chains, launching a marine conservation effort that could be one of the ...

Bush seeks to protect 3 remote island chains
White Rock Reviewer, SD - 47 minutes ago
CRAWFORD, Texas - President Bush on Monday proposed protecting three remote island chains, launching a marine conservation effort that could be one of the ...

Bush seeks to protect 3 remote island chains
FOXNews - 47 minutes ago
CRAWFORD, Texas — President Bush on Monday proposed protecting three remote island chains, launching a marine conservation effort that could be one of the ...

Bush seeks to protect 3 remote island chains
New Hope Courier, OK - 48 minutes ago
CRAWFORD, Texas - President Bush on Monday proposed protecting three remote island chains, launching a marine conservation effort that could be one of the ...

Bush seeks to protect 3 remote island chains
Akron Farm Report, NE - 48 minutes ago
CRAWFORD, Texas - President Bush on Monday proposed protecting three remote island chains, launching a marine conservation effort that could be one of the ...

Bush seeks to protect 3 remote island chains
Ely Times, USA - 51 minutes ago
CRAWFORD, Texas - President Bush on Monday proposed protecting three remote island chains, launching a marine conservation effort that could be one of the ...



Bush seeks to protect 3 remote island chains
Bakersfield Californian (subscription), CA - 52 minutes ago
AP | Monday, Aug 25 2008 12:58 PM President Bush on Monday proposed protecting three remote island chains, launching a marine conservation effort that could ...

Bush seeks to protect 3 remote island chains
MLive.com, MI - 52 minutes ago
AP CRAWFORD, Texas (AP) — President Bush on Monday proposed protecting three remote island chains, launching a marine conservation effort that could be one ...

Bush seeks to protect 3 remote island chains
Danbury News Times, CT - 53 minutes ago
AP CRAWFORD, Texas—President Bush on Monday proposed protecting three remote island chains, launching a marine conservation effort that could be one of the ...

Bush seeks to protect 3 remote island chains
guardian.co.uk, UK - 54 minutes ago
AP foreign CRAWFORD, Texas (AP) - President Bush on Monday proposed protecting three remote island chains, launching a marine conservation effort that could ...

Bush seeks to protect 3 remote island chains
The Oregonian - OregonLive.com, OR - 54 minutes ago
AP CRAWFORD, Texas (AP) — President Bush on Monday proposed protecting three remote island chains, launching a marine conservation effort that could be one ...

Bush seeks to protect 3 remote island chains
Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, IN - 56 minutes ago
AP President Bush on Monday proposed protecting three remote island chains, launching a marine conservation effort that could be one of the largest in ...

Bush seeks to protect 3 remote island chains
Centre Daily Times, PA - 56 minutes ago
- AP CRAWFORD, Texas — President Bush on Monday proposed protecting three remote island chains, launching a marine conservation effort that could be one of ...

Bush seeks to protect 3 remote island chains
Worcester Telegram, MA - 57 minutes ago
AP CRAWFORD, Texas— President Bush on Monday proposed protecting three remote island chains, launching a marine conservation effort that could be one of the ...

Bush seeks to protect 3 remote island chains
Washington Post, United States - 58 minutes ago
AP CRAWFORD, Texas -- President Bush on Monday proposed protecting three remote island chains, launching a marine conservation effort that could be one of ...

Bush seeks to protect 3 remote island chains
Contra Costa Times, CA - 58 minutes ago
AP CRAWFORD, Texas—President Bush on Monday proposed protecting three remote island chains, launching a marine conservation effort that could be one of the ...

Bush seeks to protect 3 remote island chains
Columbus Ledger-Enquirer, GA - 59 minutes ago
AP -- President Bush on Monday proposed protecting three remote island chains, launching a marine conservation effort that could be one of the largest in ...

Bush moves to protect remote Pacific islands in broad conservation ...
Minneapolis Star Tribune, MN - 1 hour ago
AP CRAWFORD, Texas - President Bush on Monday proposed protecting three remote island chains, launching a marine conservation effort that could be one of ...

Bush seeks to protect 3 remote island chains
San Jose Mercury News, USA - 1 hour ago
AP CRAWFORD, Texas—President Bush on Monday proposed protecting three remote island chains, launching a marine conservation effort that could be one of the ...

Bush seeks to protect 3 remote island chains
TheNewsTribune.com, WA - 1 hour ago
; AP CRAWFORD, Texas -- President Bush on Monday proposed protecting three remote island chains, launching a marine conservation effort that could be one of ...

Bush seeks to protect 3 remote island chains
Fort Worth Star Telegram, TX - 1 hour ago
AP CRAWFORD, Texas -- President Bush on Monday proposed protecting three remote island chains, launching a marine conservation effort that could be one of ...

Bush seeks to protect 3 remote island chains
Rock Hill Herald, SC - 1 hour ago
· AP AP Essay: Why this campaign matters President Bush on Monday proposed protecting three remote island chains, launching a marine conservation effort ...

Bush seeks to protect 3 remote island chains
Enterprise-Record, CA - 1 hour ago
AP CRAWFORD, Texas—President Bush on Monday proposed protecting three remote island chains, launching a marine conservation effort that could be one of the ...

Bush seeks to protect 3 remote island chains
Modesto Bee, CA - 1 hour ago
President Bush on Monday proposed protecting three remote island chains, launching a marine conservation effort that could be one of the largest in history. ...

Bush seeks to protect 3 remote island chains
San Luis Obispo Tribune, CA - 1 hour ago
AP President Bush on Monday proposed protecting three remote island chains, launching a marine conservation effort that could be one of the largest in ...

Bush seeks to protect 3 remote island chains
The Associated Press - 1 hour ago
CRAWFORD, Texas (AP) — President Bush on Monday proposed protecting three remote island chains, launching a marine conservation effort that could be one of ...

Bush seeks to protect 3 remote island chains
News & Observer, NC - 1 hour ago
AP Essay: Why this campaign matters APComment on this story CRAWFORD, Texas - President Bush on Monday proposed protecting three remote island chains, ...

Bush seeks to protect 3 remote island chains
MiamiHerald.com, FL - 1 hour ago
AP CRAWFORD, Texas -- President Bush on Monday proposed protecting three remote island chains, launching a marine conservation effort that could be one of ...

Bush seeks to protect 3 remote island chains
Inside Bay Area, CA - 1 hour ago
AP CRAWFORD, Texas—President Bush on Monday proposed protecting three remote island chains, launching a marine conservation effort that could be one of the ...

Bush seeks to protect 3 remote island chains
The Olympian, WA - 1 hour ago
AP • Published August 25, 2008 President Bush on Monday proposed protecting three remote island chains, launching a marine conservation effort that could be ...

Bush seeks to protect 3 remote island chains
Bradenton Herald, United States - 1 hour ago
AP President Bush on Monday proposed protecting three remote island chains, launching a marine conservation effort that could be one of the largest in ...

Bush seeks to protect 3 remote island chains
Marin Independent-Journal, CA - 1 hour ago
AP CRAWFORD, Texas—President Bush on Monday proposed protecting three remote island chains, launching a marine conservation effort that could be one of the ...

Bush seeks to protect 3 remote island chains
Philadelphia Inquirer, PA - 1 hour ago
AP CRAWFORD, Texas - President Bush on Monday proposed protecting three remote island chains, launching a marine conservation effort that could be one of ...

Bush seeks to protect 3 remote island chains
Monterey County Herald, CA - 1 hour ago
AP CRAWFORD, Texas—President Bush on Monday proposed protecting three remote island chains, launching a marine conservation effort that could be one of the ...







Bush seeks to protect 3 remote island chains
Seattle Post Intelligencer - 1 hour ago
AP CRAWFORD, Texas -- President Bush on Monday proposed protecting three remote island chains, launching a marine conservation effort that could be one of ...

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Giant Coconut Crabs

I took this photo of a giant coconut crab at the Rota Zoo last month. That guy was nowhere as impressive as this guy, though. Those suckers get big, don't they?

So why am I talking about giant coconut crabs? Well, because "giant coconut crabs" is one of the top google search terms today according to Google Trends.

They are also mentioned in the AP story about the proposed 3 monuments.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Northern Marianas on CNN

Most of the media hoopla right now is focusing on Barack Obama's selection of Joe Biden as our next vice president. Even with that circus going on the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas has managed to make it to the front page of the CNN website.

This has to be the most positive press the CNMI has received in the last 20 years. I am really proud of the following paragraph:
Conservation groups have been lobbying the White House to set aside 115,000 square miles of the Northern Mariana islands as a marine monument. The U.S. commonwealth -- 1,400 miles south of Japan in the Pacific Ocean -- is known as the Grand Canyon of the ocean and includes 14 islands that are home to seabirds, endangered and threatened sea turtles and giant coconut crabs, the largest land-living crustacean in the world.
First of all, we are in the running for this monument because of our abundant natural life. Isn't MVA trying to sell us as a nature destination? Does it get any better than a story on CNN? How much is that exposure worth?

Second, isn't it great to talk about the Marianas without mentioning Guam?

This is only the beginning, too. How many more national stories are going to run on this? Won't there be another round of press when the President actually makes the announcement on Monday?

What a proud day for the CNMI!

******
As of 2:22 PM on Sunday, Local Saipan Time, this was the #3 story on the CNN website.

Northern Marianas on FOX News

The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands is being mentioned on virtually every news outlet in the world right now, including FOX News.

According to the Associated Press:
Conservation groups have been lobbying the White House to set aside 115,000 square miles of the Northern Mariana islands as a marine monument. The U.S. commonwealth _ located 1,400 miles south of Japan in the Pacific Ocean _ is known as the Grand Canyon of the ocean and includes 14 islands that are home to seabirds, endangered and threatened sea turtles and giant coconut crabs, the largest land-living crustacean in the world.
This is amazing news! According to the story, the review, or what we have been calling the "assessment" is going to take between one to two months.

The process is about to officially begin!

******
Edit:

According to Google, that paragraph appears on over 1000 news sites. What is that kind of exposure worth?

I feel proud knowing that people across the country are reading a small paragraph about our sea bird, turles, and coconut crabs. Hopefully that image of the "Grand Canyon of the Ocean" will burn into people's minds. MVA will have to do some follow up marketing, of course.

Friday, August 22, 2008

One Night at Godfather's

Angelo VillagomezAfter a long day at work I went over to Godfather's for some tuna sashimi and a beer. So what do you think, do I need to cut the mullet?

Eden BlancoEdz was there.

aileen from godfathers saipanAs was Aileen.

Yeng CamachoYeng was there, too.

The new band, Seventh Street 7th Side, was playing. Well, I think their name is Seventh Street, I could be wrong.

The singer in this photo gave me her email so that I could send her this picture, but I lost it. I forgot her name, too. I think it had two n's in it. I remember the other singer's name though. Here name is Ice.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Illegal Fishing in the proposed Monument

Last night, while munching on some grilled mahi mahi from Hawaii Bar & Grill, I saw the following story on KSPN 2:


The boats, all from Chinese Taipei, were fishing within the boundaries of the proposed Mariana Trench Marine National Monument. I wanted to know more, so I did a little bit of investigative research (i.e. I called Bob at KSPN and asked him for his source then did a Google search).

I found this story on KUAM and this press release from the US Coast Guard:
COAST GUARD SECTOR GUAM AND CUTTER KUKUI PROTECT MARIANA ISLANDS FISHERIES

GUAM – Coast Guard Cutter Kukui returns to Apra Harbor today following a ten day fisheries enforcement patrol of the Guam / Northern Mariana Islands Exclusive Economic Zone. Working with a C-130 long-range patrol aircraft from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point, Hawaii, Cutter Kukui interdicted one of three foreign fishing vessels sighted operating illegally inside the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) approximately 600 nautical miles north of Guam.

On 12 August, the C-130 identified three fishing vessels operating illegally inside the EEZ and relayed the position of the fishing vessels to Cutter Kukui. Cutter Kukui then set out to intercept the group. Arriving some 11-hours later, Kukui found the fishing vessels had fled the area. The C-130 relocated one of the fishing vessels the following day and Cutter Kukui again began pursuit, intercepting the vessel that night after a nearly 50 nautical mile chase.

As a result of this enforcement action, one of the foreign fishing vessels has been ordered to return to port and its fishing license will be suspended.

Coast Guard Cutter Kukui is a 225-foot Juniper class buoy tender whose home ported is Honolulu, HI; LCDR Steven Matadobra is the Commanding Officer of Cutter Kukui.
600 miles north of Guam would put the area where the illegal fishing vessels were spotted north of Uracas. They weren't near the islands though, they were 20 miles from the edge of the EEZ...but still within the EEZ.

HC-130H Long Range Surveillance AircraftFor this operation the US Coast Guard used a HC-130H Long Range Surveillance Aircraft to spot illegal fishing vessels. Once the vessels were spotted from the air, the US Coast Guard Cutter Kukui, a 225' Seagoing Buoy Tender (that's a big boat!), was sent to intercept.

While the Coast Guard press release only mentions the three boats identified 600 miles north of Guam, there were also two other Chinese Taipei vessels filmed from the air. I don't know if those boats were intercepted or not.

Coast Guard Cutter KukuiSo what's the point?

Well, we've been very careful to not make any promises on behalf of the US government, but it is probably not a stretch to assume that there could be increased patrols of the northern waters if they were designated a monument. The people that I know who are involved with Papahanaumokuakea say that the Coast Guard patrols increased in their monument after it was declared.

I do not know how often the patrols are made here locally, but I think they are only made a few times a year. The last trip I remember hearing about was the one where Morgan Rose and Lannie Walker accompanied the Coast Guard to Alamagan to drop off Christmas gifts to the kids living there. Even on that trip, two illegal foreign fishing vessels were spotted.

It seems to me that every time a patrol ship goes up there they catch illegal foreign fishermen. These aren't small boats either, they are catching large commercial longliners that have the ability to spend weeks at sea.

It would benefit local fishermen if these fishing vessels were no longer in our waters. Increased patrols would be a good start.

Kudos to the Coast Guard on a job well done.

******
cutter kakui saipan tribune front pageThis story made the front page of the Saipan Tribune today. The title of the article is Three vessels caught fishing illegally in NMI's EEZ. Actually, only one boat vessel was caught. The other two got away.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The Master List Redux

This is the updated Master List of Saipan blogs. If your blog is not included on this list, please leave a comment and I will add it.

Please add a link to the Master List on your blog or website as it is the most comprehensive list of Saipan (and Tinian and Rota) blogs.

Blogs marked with an asterisk are Saipan Blogger Recommended blogs.

Blogs with a strike through have not been updated recently. I do not want to delete these links, as they still contain information about life on Saipan.

ENJOY!

The Master List
  1. A boy & his dog - without the dog
  2. Act Now and Speak Up CNMI Teachers
  3. A Hobbits Holiday
  4. As told by Akieva
  5. B Blogger
  6. Badminton Federation
  7. Beach Boy in Paradise*
  8. Beachcomber on Saipan
  9. Beautify CNMI*
  10. Beautify CNMI - not the real one
  11. BizResults
  12. Blacks on Saipan!
  13. Bookworm at the Beach
  14. CAMI CNMI
  15. Captain Carl's Blog
  16. Chamorro Recipes
  17. Chamorro Language & Culture
  18. Chopsticks*
  19. CNMI Blogger - the little one
  20. CNMI Watcher
  21. CoCo
  22. Coffee and Crayons
  23. Commonwealth Sound Off
  24. Competition Central
  25. Cookin' Up a Storm
  26. Cyn
  27. Daily OSB*
  28. Day in Court
  29. Eco Saipan
  30. Everybody's Got a Cousin on Saipan
  31. Fabulous Invalid Theatre Company
  32. Find Saipan
  33. Food for Thought
  34. Food for Thought
  35. Fresh and New with Ken Loo
  36. Friends of the Mariana Islands
  37. Galvinizing Thoughts
  38. Glend558
  39. Glimpses of Tinian
  40. Great Expections
  41. Green CNMI
  42. Hafa Adai Saipan
  43. Hafa Adai, Welcome to Saipan*
  44. Hafa Adive
  45. Hello Sunshine
  46. Hey Gomez
  47. Hike Tinian
  48. Hope in-between
  49. Hozumi's Blog
  50. Hutchison Blog
  51. Ian's Blog
  52. Isa CNMI
  53. Island Crusader
  54. Island Locator
  55. Island Stone
  56. Island Treasure
  57. Islander for Life
  58. Jacqueline Hernandez Photography
  59. Journal Online
  60. Junji's Saipan Life
  61. Keeping up with the Lories
  62. Ken & Crystal's Adventures
  63. Koru Gym - Saipan
  64. Life in Oceania
  65. Life in Saipan
  66. Life on the Rock
  67. Lindsay in Saipan
  68. Mallard Pond
  69. Major Mal to Ground Control
  70. Marianas Eye*
  71. Marianas High School National Honor Society
  72. Marianas Pride
  73. Masa Dive
  74. MCS Thespians
  75. Miss Saipan
  76. Mount Carmel School Theatre Club
  77. MV Teen
  78. Must be the Humidity
  79. My Quirky Island
  80. My Story
  81. Mylene Rocks
  82. New Saipan
  83. Norman Del Rosario
  84. Northern Mariana Islands Football Association Blog*
  85. Oasis in the Ocean
  86. Oleai School, grade two, room 12
  87. On My Mind
  88. Operation Rota
  89. Ornes & Chambers
  90. PAWS
  91. Pinay Perspectives
  92. Pourtney's Complaint
  93. Pragmatic Plato
  94. Rainbow Concussion
  95. Remembering Saipan & Korea
  96. Road Blocks
  97. Saipan Artist's Adventure
  98. Saipan Blog
  99. Saipan Branch
  100. Saipan Casino Act
  101. Saipan Diver*
  102. Saipan Free Speech
  103. Saipan Middle Road
  104. Saipan Mixed Plate
  105. Saipanovka
  106. Saipan Pictures
  107. Saipan Quinn
  108. Saipan Real Estate
  109. Saipan Scuba*
  110. Saipan Smith Photo Preservation
  111. Saipan Sunrise
  112. Saipan Writer
  113. Saipan: A Different Perspective
  114. Saipan: Let's Talk GLBT!
  115. Saipanuvian
  116. sam's historical life changing events
  117. Save the Grotto
  118. Scents of Saipan
  119. Screamin' and Hollerin'
  120. Sealovers Saipan Blog
  121. Seaweed, Sand & Sunsets*
  122. Sentiments and Poems
  123. Shazam*
  124. Shirley's Coffee Shop
  125. Sideorders
  126. Sommy's Mommy*
  127. Son of a Blogger
  128. Son of a Blogger
  129. SOSaipan*
  130. Stakeholders Speakup
  131. Swim, Bike, Run Saipan
  132. Tales of a Whimsy Peddler
  133. Taotao Tano CNMI
  134. Taotao Tasi
  135. The CNMI Blog*
  136. The Rosana Amanda
  137. The Saipan Blog*
  138. Thespians' Food for Thought
  139. The Thinks
  140. Tinian Times
  141. Tree Hugger's Wife
  142. Trench Warrior
  143. Voice of Olomwaay
  144. Whispering Palms
Updated on August 18, 2008.

There is a small army of bloggers from Saipan now living elsewhere. They deserve links as well. I call them Coconuts Abroad. Here are their blogs:

Coconuts Abroad
  1. Another Majic Moment
  2. A Tree Huggers Wife
  3. Beyond Behaviors
  4. Bubbles in Paradise*
  5. EJ's World*
  6. From My Rock in the Tropical Sun
  7. Hello Insomnia
  8. Japan in Micronesia
  9. Just Relax
  10. Life After Expo 74
  11. My Blog About "Whatever"
  12. No Rest for the Awake
  13. Saipan and other random hypercritical thoughts*
  14. Strangers & Lovers
  15. Taya Bida
  16. The Adventures of Diana*
  17. The Man From Saipan
  18. Unheard No More

Friday, August 15, 2008

Good Luck, Ian

Ian Catlett and Angelo VillagomezIan shipped off this morning. He'll be spending the next year in the beautiful city of Baghdad, Iraq. Stay safe, buddy.

Another Congressional Poll

With 21 days left to vote, Greg Sablan has taken an early lead in the Vizu poll on this (and other) blog(s). He has 49.9% of the 455 votes cast so far. Pete A Tenorio is currently in second with 25.5%.

This poll isn't scientific...so relax!!!

Speaking of polls, the Marianas Variety has a new poll on their website, too. Right now there are 65 votes. Pete A Tenorio is leading with 18...and for the record, the Variety polls can be hacked, while the Vizu polls can not.

******
I mentioned in a previous post that I would link to the campaign websites of the nine candidates. John O Gonzales and Juan Lizama have websites and now Greg Sablan has one up, too.

Blog Action Day 08

The topic of Blog Action Day 07 was the environment. I wrote about, you guessed it, the Mariana Trench.

The topic of this year's Blog Action Day is poverty.

From their website:
Blog Action Day is an annual nonprofit event that aims to unite the world’s bloggers, podcasters and videocasters, to post about the same issue on the same day. Our aim is to raise awareness and trigger a global discussion.

One Issue, Thousands of Voices

Global issues like poverty are extremely complex. There is no simple, clear answer. By asking thousands of different people to give their viewpoints and opinions, Blog Action Day creates an extraordinary lens through which to view these issues. Each blogger brings their own perspective and ideas. Each blogger posts relating to their own blog topic. And each blogger engages their audience differently.

What is the aim of Blog Action Day?

First and last, the purpose of Blog Action Day is to create a discussion. We ask bloggers to take a single day out of their schedule and focus it on an important issue.

By doing so on the same day, the blogging community effectively changes the conversation on the web and focuses audiences around the globe on that issue.

Out of this discussion naturally flow actions, advice, ideas, plans, and empowerment. In 2007 on the theme of the Environment, we saw bloggers running environmental experiments, detailing innovative ideas on creating sustainable practices and focusing audience’s attentions on organizations and companies promoting green agendas. In 2008 we aim to again focus the blogging community’s energies and passions, this time on the mammoth issue of global poverty.
Mass Participation

From the smallest online journals, to huge online magazines, to EU ministers, to professionals and amateurs, Blog Action Day is about mass participation. Anyone is free to join in on Blog Action Day and there is no limit on the number of posts, the type of posts or the direction of thoughts and opinions.
I signed up to participate this afternoon. I'm going to write about poverty and its relation to environmental degradation.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Looking for some Ocean Bloggers

The Saipan Blog will host Carnival of the Blue on September 1. This is my second time hosting and I'm looking for some local bloggers to write some posts about the ocean.

A blog carnival is a blog post that links to other blogs writing about a similar subject. Carnival of the Blue is a blog carnival about oceans, but a carnival can be about any subject. David Khorram hosted one on his blog recently, Grand Rounds, that is a carnival about all things medicine.

For this installment of Carnival of the Blue, I'd like to have a section dedicated to CNMI ocean bloggers. I know you are out there. So write your blog, send me the link and I'll include you.