14 Jul 2009

Native Rights Group in Guam fights for fishing access

8:26 pm on 14 July 2009

A native rights group in Guam is fighting to remove restrictions on fishing rights for the native people of Guam.

The Taotaomona Native Rights Group is preparing to go up against the Guam Legislature later this month to amend a public law which limits fishing activity in certain local waters.

On May 24, the group submitted a new set of rules and regulations to legislators, specifically regarding indigenous fishing rights.

According to a spokesperson for the group, Trini Torres, the proposed new set of rules stems from years of frustration over the Department of Agriculture's current regulations governing the island's marine preserves.

Torres said that many local residents are being arrested for fishing in these areas, even though their families have been fishing there for generations.

Torres added that although the current law was established to protect Guam's waters from over-fishing, many Chamoro fisherman and their families only fish to help put food on the table.

The organisation hopes to raise public awareness through a series of public meetings prior to the public hearing on amending the current law, which is scheduled for July 24.