Sunday, July 11, 2010

Fishing Contest: Kill the last Napoleon wrasse on Saipan and win a prize!

troy williamsIt turns out Troy Williams didn't like me calling him out for killing Napoleon wrasse in Saipan's (or Tinian's) waters. To express this displeasure he printed himself up a shirt to let the world know how cool he is. Isn't he a cool guy!

I have a problem with tourists, especially tourists who work for the Guam Visitors Channel, coming to Saipan and killing an endangered species. It is one thing for a local to catch this fish to sell or eat it, it is another for a tourist to do so. In fact, I have defended the priviledge of local fisherman to catch this fish. When Felix Sasamoto caught a Napoleon wrasse at Obyan beach in 2008, I was the first person to publicly defend him.

napoleon wrasseThe Northern Marianas are a decade behind in recognizing the need to protect the Napoleon wrasse. Australia has full protections. So does Palau. A dozen other nations have limited protections. And since protections are not in place here, the fish is fair game for anyone with a spear.

Yet the fact remains that the IUCN lists the Napoleon wrasse as an endangered species. The CNMI Division of Fish & Wildlife, notably Mike Trianni with the fisheries division, tries to claim that it is uncommon, but not endangered. Seeing as DFW has overseen the collapse of Saipan's fishery over the last two decades, I'm going to go out on a limb and say that I trust IUCN more.

But I'm probably just dreaming. Even if there were protections for the Napoleon wrasse on Saipan, the law wouldn't be enforced. There is still fishing going on in the local marine protected areas; you can see Harry Blalock removing fishing line wrapped around coral heads in the Bird Island Marine Preserve on MSNBC last year. I also remember in 2008 when DFW Director Sylvan Igisomar reprogrammed the fuel budget for the enforcement boats to his travel budget. Good luck patrolling our waters from the dock, boys! And a sizeable portion of fish for sale at roadside stands are caught with scuba spearfishing, which is theoretically illegal. In fact, freediving spearfishmen like Felix, Morito the shark feeder, and Troy complain about how the commercial fishermen have an unfair competitive advantage over them because they break the law and how they are the ones truly responsible for the collapse of Saipan's fishery. The sport spearfishermen just get more attention because they send their photos to the newspaper, post them on Facebook and wear t-shirts that say, "Die Fishies, Die!"


Isa said...

what a jerk

Troy said...

My young Angelo,
Thank you for having so much interest in me, and since your "journalistic" style is to "call out", I will provide you with facts about me. (Note I used the term fact, not conjecture.) In the future it might benefit you to actually speak with the persons you are "calling out".
I moved to the CNMI in 1998 and maintained a residency status in the CNMI for the years 1998-2003. During this time I owned and operated a myriad of businesses on the island of Saipan. But you really wouldn't know much about that because you were not in the CNMI.
During this time our group gainfully employed a number of Saipan residents, conducted Carolinian shows, the first to incorporate chanting, and saw staff rise from deck hands to Captains, making real sustainable wages. But once again you really wouldn't know about that because you were, "in Florida."
Our group conducted tours for the local schools aimed at increasing awareness of the marine environment in the CNMI. More than $100K in in kind donations which benefitted the CNMI residents. But once again...
During my residency in the CNMI I voluntarily ascertained the condition of the offshore FAD devices. Checking the condition of the chain and shackles and ascertaining if the solar lighting system was intact. It was during these years I supplied fish and wildlife with detailed records of my catch, both on the reef and in the blue water. These records included size and weight, location of catch and tides, lunar phases during the catch. I also included data of fish that were sighted. This data is what allows a scientist, like Mike Trianni, to develop sound data and assess the condition of the local marine environment. I was also in the Northern Marianas Islands on several trips, from Uracas down, although I have been there five times, I still don't espouse to be a self proclaimed "Godfather". On these trips I spent an average of five hours per day on the reefs. I noted anchorages, bent and discarded spears, nets and other debri from illicit fishing in the Northern Islands. I also recorded my catch and all of this data was supplied to the CNMI Fish and Wildlife department. You see I was supplying data to marine biologists, people who graduated with degrees in this science, not self proclaimed experts. One quick question, because I do not really know, do you have a degree in marine biology? Or are you just "calling out", the marine biologists.
In terms of fishing on the CNMI, I have never broken a law concerning MPA's, or even taken a Napolean from Saipan reefs. The Napolean you saw was taken from Dump Coke reef. If you consult your chart you will find DC Reef 27 miles offshore, with an average depth of 110 feet, it has a large population of Napoleans. I remember when you looked at the Napolean you commented how small it was. Do a little research on the reproductive cycles of Napolean Wrasse, or call one of the marine biologists and ask.
I have never taken a napolean from a dive site, never dived the MPAs, and have been a tax paying corporate citizen of the CNMI since 1988. SO although I am not an official resident of the CNMI, due to civil restraints imposed by the IRS, I have been a contributing member of the CNMI for longer than you have been on the island. I would use the expression, "tadja na respetu", and ask that in the future you make more prudent choices in yor writing. Discuss matters with the people you are "calling out", and then write an article you can be proud of.

Troy Williams

The Saipan Blogger said...

I fail to see the connection between your job and your recreational killing of an endangered species. The two are completely unrelated.

But anyway.

You were not called out. You killed a Napoleon wrasse, an endangered species, and sold it to a Chinese restaurant in Garapan for $50 during your vacation last summer. That is a fact. I made nothing up.

The next day, I posted a picture of the fish on my blog without mentioning your name. If you remember, you were afraid to let me take a picture of the fish and I had to get it from the Japanese people eating in the restaurant where you sold the fish.

After the picture of the fish was posted there were some comments, but you were not connected to the picture in any way. In passing I mentioned on a blog post the other day that someone had sold a large, rare fish for a pittance of a price, much like you had last year, naming you by name for the first time. Your response was to make the t-shirt you are wearing in this post, take a picture with my girlfriend, and post it all over Facebook.

If there's someone to blame here, it's the guy you see when you look in the mirror.

You are correct that you broke no laws. As I stated in my blog, the Napoleon wrasse is an unprotected species in the Northern Marianas. You clearly feel guilty about this, otherwise you wouldn't have ran away when I tried to take a picture of the fish, wouldn't have made the t-shirt, and wouldn't have taken the time to explain your other contributions to society in your lengthy blog comment.

I believe your response to one of the marine biologists on Saipan when he asked you why you had killed the fish was something along the lines of, "as long as there are fish in the sea, I will kill them."

Obviously reason doesn't work with you, so perhaps shame will.

And you are right, I don't have a degree. I have two.

Troy said...

Enough said, no guilt here at all. If you check the posting of the pic it was done by another person.
I am through with this discussion, if you would like we can sit down and talk face to face when you get back.


dive said...

Oh boy, Can't you respect the guy who can go down 80 feet and hunt the big fish with one leg?

Can you go down at least half of it with your two?

About your friend Harry Blalock, many Instructors know that he was doing illegal shell killing/collecting/selling in Grotto for a long, long time.
On last Nov.11th, he killed one Giant clam at Goat Island which is very, very rare(far more than Napoleon Wrasse) in the CNMI water,
just to show off and tried to bring back the shell(Boat crew throw them back into the water cause they can get in trouble).The boat was full of Scuba Instructors and disappointed with him, off course.

Since you are born in Saipan and raised in Florida and whatever called "Marine biologist", Instead of doing Internet surfin to chase somebody's ass, Just get your mask and fins and learn how to dive.You may able to see REAL "You" and REAL world, hopefully.

The Saipan Blogger said...

Since when does Harry Blalock's bad behavior have anything to do with excusing other people's bad behavior?

Isa said...

what a jerk