Guam – A new study shows that the risk of drowning has more than doubled for Chamorro Fishermen following the enforcement of Marine Preserve Areas in 2001.
The report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health shows that a loss of accessible fishing grounds caused by the establishment of MPA’s has prevented Fishermen from teaching fishing techniques in a safe environment.
According to Guam Fishermen’s Co-op President Manny Duenas the fishing restrictions at Tumon Bay, Piti Bomb Holes, Sasa Bay, Achang Reef Flat and Pati Point have forced fishermen to either scale back their fishing or fish on the East side of the island where the conditions are more hazardous.
Duenas says he and other fishermen support the idea of Marine Preserves but feel many of the restrictions on fishing are not only unnecessary but threaten the fishing culture on Guam.
“If you look at the number of fishermen, we’re dwindling.” Duenas said. “Maybe in the future the availability of fresh local fish on our island isn’t going to be there.”
Duenas added that fishing is the only activity restricted in MPAs but said he feels that other activities, especially those from the tourism industry, cause more harm to the coral than fishing does.