It 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.
The 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!"