23 Jun 2008

Guam expresses concerns about bill that could increase fishing

11:01 am on 23 June 2008

Guam has expressed its concerned about a bill now before the US congress to allow U.S. flagged foreign built purse seine fishing in the EEZs of Guam, Hawaii, American Samoa, CNMI, and other remote atoll islands.

Currently such vessels weighing over 200 tons are prohibited from fishing within the U.S. exclusive economic zones around these US Pacific island territories.

The proposed legislation will lead to the possible expansion of purse-seine fishing and may impact on measures to reduce overfishing of bigeye tuna stocks in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean.

The Guam Governor's executive assistant Shawn Gumataotao says they are aware of the bill.

He says Guam's delegate to the U.S House of Representative is the chair of Guam's Fisheries sub- committee and is closely following progress on the bill.

"Guam does have a voice in how or the activities in and around the waters regarding the EEZs. We're taking a very close look at this and we do, or are very concerned about ensuring that all activities in our EEZs benefit our island."