Today there is news that Wespac wants to allow those foreign fishing vessels to come even closer to shore, allowing them to directly compete for fish with the locals guys with the smaller boats.
Fishery council: 30-mile exclusion zone good for local fishermenThis kind of news is so frustrating.
FRIDAY, 19 JUNE 2009
BY EMMANUEL T. EREDIANO - VARIETY NEWS STAFF
ESTABLISHING a 30-mile exclusion zone for long line fishing will entice local fishermen to venture into this commercial fishing method, according to the Western Pacific Fishery Management Council.
Long line fishing involves setting a 20 to 35-mile long line with baited hooks on its branches left for up to 12 hours in the water.
Last year, Wespac members agreed to allow long lining outside the 30 nautical mile closure area from the shores of the CNMI.
This unanimous recommendation has been submitted to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and is now being reviewed by its Pacific Islands Regional Office.
However, during the meeting of the regional ecosystem advisory committee last Tuesday, concerns were raised by some members.
Lino Olopai, a traditional fisherman, wants the exclusion zone pushed to 50 nautical miles as originally recommended, while other members noted that small fishermen may lose their livelihood to long liners.
Jack Ogumoro, CNMI Wespac coordinator, said setting a 30-mile exclusion area will entice foreign investors interested in long line fishing as well as the local people who may soon have the capacity to engage in such a large-scale fishing activity.
Right now, there is a Hawaii-based fishery firm doing long line fishing in the CNMI.
Ogumoro said long line fishing is expensive in terms of fuel cost.
Martin Mendiola, who represented Rota on the panel, suggested full scholarships for locals to build local capacity in manning long line vessels.
Tony Benavente, who also attended the meeting, said there are locals who are considering long line fishing but lacks the financial capacity to do so.
He wants to know if they can get help from the Commonwealth Development Authority regarding the needed start-up funds.
Ogumoro said all the recommendations brought up during the separate meetings of the advisory panel, the plan team and the regional eco-system advisory committee will be sent to the NOAA which review them during the drafting of new regulations.
Keep in mind that these are the same guys who vehemently opposed the Marianas Trench Marine National Monument. These are the guys who whipped up the anti-Federal government, anti-outsider frenzy.
One of their arguments back then was that the indigenous people have been managing the resource for millennia and should be allowed to continue using their traditional conservation strategies without the interference of the Federal government. (As an aside, I think John Joyner was using these traditional conservation strategies when he allowed the bulldozers to flatten Marpi earlier this year without an earthmoving permit.)
Yet six months later they are trying to sell off our waters to foreign countries. Imagine watching Taiwanese fishing vessels mining our waters from the shores of Beach Road. That is what these new regulations are going to allow.