CHAMORROS PROTEST GUAM FISHING RESTRICTIONS

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By Mar-Vic Cagurangan

SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, Jan. 4) – Chamorro activists staged a mini-rally in front of the Legislature building in Hagatna yesterday to protest what they considered selected restrictions on activities in Guam’s beach areas.

They said they wondered why the Department of Agriculture declared certain areas along Tumon as "Marine preserve," where sports activities are allowed.

They claimed that the government’s regulations cater only to tourists and discriminate against the indigenous population.

"They told us that Matapang beach is a preserve area so we are not allowed to fish there, but how come hundreds of people are jet skiing there every day?" asked Danny Jackson, who, along with fellow activist Howard Hemsing, was arrested by DA agents last month during a rally at Matapang beach in Tumon.

Robert Benavente said if the government really cares about preserving Guam’s marine resources, it would not allow sports activities that would pose more danger to coral reefs.

"We are being discriminated against in our own homeland. They are suppressing our fishing rights. We are being treated by the federal government the way it treated the Indians, the Alaskans and Hawaiians," Benavente said.

"If they government really wants to promote tourism, they should start by enhancing our local culture," he added.

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