Saturday, October 19, 2013

Science Online Oceans Science Geek Fashion Show

Austin and I dressed up as Red Sox fans from Massachusetts
Has it really been a week?  The memory of the Science Online Oceans Science Geek Fashion Show is still fresh.  Must be the combination of having the Red Sox in the playoffs and recovering from a sunburn that has my sense of time off.

This morning I posted the photos from the fashion show to The Saipan Blog Facebook page.  Enjoy.  Give your favorite a like.  At the end of the week, the science geek with the most likes wins...nothing.

Give your favorite photo a like on Facebook.  The winner gets...nothing
Apologies if you were a competitor and I didn't snap your photo.  It can be difficult holding a beer in one hand, a camera in the other, with one eye on the fashion show, and another on the game on the TV in the bar.

There's a larger blog of Science Online Oceans tumbling around between my ears and I've got a few more photos to post.  Stay tuned.

Friday, October 18, 2013

And so I tweet

That's my first tweet from January 24, 2009. It's taken me nearly five years to be sold on Twitter. Thanks to the Science Online Oceans conference, I am comfortable saying that Twitter does not suck. Twitter is actually pretty cool. I'll write my #ScioOceans blog sometime over the weekend. I've been too busy watching the ALCS and working to do so.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

He Died a Warrior's Death

Oreo Kenobi VillagomezSome of my reader's (both of you) may be wondering what ever happened to my dog Oreo. When I moved to the mainland in 2010, Oreo stayed behind with my then-girlfriend Edz. When my now-wife Edz moved to the mainland last year, we decided to leave Oreo with one of our friends. This friend had a young daughter who was enamored with Oreo.

Oreo and I have very similar personalities. We're both a little dumb, a little crazy, and think we can take on things much bigger than ourselves. In my life this has materialized as the longline fishing industry in Hawaii. For Oreo it was the neighbor's dogs.

A few months ago Oreo escaped from my friend's house and got into an altercation with the neighbor's two dogs. Oreo lost. Losing Oreo is sad, but not unexpected. Saipan is not a good place for dogs, especially super friendly fluffy white dogs.

I know Oreo had some fans out there, so I wanted to share this sad news with you.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Sharks Back Home

Sharks are in the news back home. I was asked to provide comment.
Proposed regional shark plan could defeat CNMI’s shark protection law By Haidee V. Eugenio

A committee advising the Western Pacific Fishery Management Council convenes this week in Honolulu to discuss, among other things, proposed shark management in the Marianas that includes “directed fishery for sharks” or “indirect catch,” which some advocates say seems to negatively impact the CNMI’s two-year-old law against possession, selling, trading or distributing shark fins.

The Scientific and Statistical Committee will meet in Honolulu, Hawaii from Oct. 16 to 18.

Former representative Diego Benavente, author of the shark protection bill that became CNMI Public Law 17-27, said yesterday that the CNMI government should voice out its concerns on the proposed shark management methods, specifically to “reduce shark biomass” as Wespac stated in a release last week.

“I hope that Hawaii, Guam and our other allies such as Palau and the Marshall Islands to come out and voice out their concerns about the proposals to manage sharks in the region,” Benavente told Saipan Tribune.

The CNMI law prohibits possession, selling, offering for sale, trading, or distributing shark fins in the CNMI. It, however, allows catching of sharks for subsistence or non-commercial purposes.

Wespac said last week that fishermen in the Marianas archipelago -- which includes the CNMI and Guam -- have complained for more than a decade about “shark depredation,” including taking of bait by sharks.

It also said one consideration for the depredation problem is to reduce the shark biomass either through a directed fishery for sharks or an indirect catch by pelagic longlining.

Benavente said while Wespac seems to be concerned about fishermen’s issues concerning sharks right now, there seems to be disregard about shark protection and overall marine ecosystem now and for generations to come.

“I am also a fisherman. We also fish in areas where there are sharks but we still manage to catch fish. I just can’t understand why Wespac would suggest that sharks need to be destroyed because of fishermen’s concerns but what about their role in the ecosystem. Are they suggesting destroying ocean resources because of current concerns?” said Benavente, a former speaker and former lieutenant governor.

Wespac said recommendations from the Scientific and Statistical Committee will be considered by the Council from Oct. 16 to 18, 2013.

Angelo Villagomez, with The Pew Charitable Trusts in Washington, D.C., said management decisions should be based sound science, not hearsay.

“There isn’t a scientific study in the tropical Pacific showing that shark populations are healthy and that shark fishing levels are sustainable. On the contrary, every study has shown declines,” he said when sought for comment.

He said sharks are good for tourism.

“Senator Pete Reyes recognized this back in 2007 when he passed some of the first protections for sharks in the eagle ray protection law. Diego Benavente strengthened those protections in 2011. These laws are giving depleted shark populations a chance to recover, which will be good for the marine environment, but also for the increasing number of divers who expect to see sharks and other large predators when they spend thousands of dollars to visit Saipan,” Villagomez said.

Villagomez also said a NOAA-funded study in Guam showed that the biomass of sharks was already four times lower than a similar area in Australia that was a known shark fishery.

He also said the three stock assessments done by the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission show that oceanic whitetips, blue, and silky sharks are overfished and that overfishing is occurring. More information is available at

Villagomez also cited a study published by Shelley Clarke in 2012 shows that populations of blue, mako, oceanic whitetip, and silky sharks are declining. (

“Only a few months ago, members of the CNMI Legislature joined the Association of Pacific Island Legislatures in calling for a Pacific-wide shark sanctuary. The WESPAC proposal appears in contradiction with what elected leaders from all of Micronesia, Hawaii, and American Samoa want,” Villagomez added.

Monday, October 14, 2013

I hereby nominate this tweet

This might be my favorite of the nearly 5,000 #ScioOceans tweets tweeted out by the fewer than 200 conference participants over the weekend.

Friday, October 11, 2013

This is my first podcast

There's a Switzer in Fiji who will point out the mistakes in this. I don't care, it's more about gaining the technical skills to record a podcast. So what do you think? Do I have a great radio face or what?

Saturday, October 05, 2013


Jaleo is my favorite restaurant
The deluge of well wishers on Facebook on your birthday is one of the great marvels of the modern age.  Far flung aunts, uncles, and cousins, friends you have not seen in too long, and people you see every day make you feel like the most important person in the world -- for at least a day.  Well played, Facebook.

I told Edz all I wanted for my birthday was her love and affection, so I have everything I hoped for.  But I also got a promotion yesterday, which was a nice surprise.