16 Jul 2009

Guam group decries loss of indigenous fishing rights

6:00 pm on 16 July 2009

A native rights group in Guam says it can no longer ignore that the Chamorro people's indigenous fishing rights are being trampled on.

The Taotaomona Native Rights Group is calling for amendments to the Department of Agriculture's regulations that govern the marine reserves.

Its spokesperson, Trini Torres, says its people are being arrested for fishing in these waters although they are their customary fishing grounds.

Ms Torres says it's asking for the regulations to be changed.

"Fishing has been our subsistence for over 6,000 years and it's really our native rights in our own homeland. How can they feed their families when that has been the means of eating and surviving as a people."

The Taotaomona Native Rights Group spokesperson, Trini Torres.

Meanwhile, the Department of Agriculture says the current situation has arisen because of a clash in legislation regarding indigenous rights and marine reserves.

It says an amendment addressing these issues is expected to be discussed by lawmakers.