GUAM FISHERMEN ARRESTED IN MARINE PRESERVE

admin's picture

HAGATNA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, Dec. 14) – Two protesters – Danny "Pagat" Jackson and Howard Hemsing, also known as "Maga Aniti," were taken into custody by Guam Department of Agriculture conservation officers yesterday in Tumon, according to witnesses at the scene.

No further information was available from the Department of Agriculture. Messages left with the deputy director were not returned yesterday.

Nasion Chamoru and others were protesting the restrictions of fishing – notably fishing with talaya, or hand-cast nets – in Tumon Bay, which is one of Guam's marine preserves. Most fishing is prohibited in the marine preserves.

In a statement passed out at the protest, Nasion Chamoru said, "We have been deprived (of the right) to fish freely, or to hunt freely. If we are caught, we are cited as committing an 'offense.' We are arrested, charged fines, even face the threat of jail. These injustices imposed against us (are) totally wrong!"

The protest comes as the Guam Department of Agriculture's Division of Aquatic and Wildlife Resources is concluding the celebration of a decade of marine conservation in Marine Protected Areas, which were established to restore and protect fish populations while allowing cultural practices to continue on Guam.

"Guam's marine preserves are critical to ensuring there are reef fish for future generations," said Jay Gutierrez, DAWR acting assistant chief, in a department news release. "Designating certain coastal areas for fish stock replenishment has worked to restore and protect fish populations in other areas of the Pacific, including Palau, allowing resident islanders to continue their cultural practices."

Ike Pangelinan of Mangilao also attended the protest. He said he's a retired educator and disabled Vietnam veteran, and follows what he said is a Palauan saying -- "Custom first, laws later."

"I just want to put food on the table," Pangelinan said.

Rate this article: 
No votes yet

Add new comment