(WPRFMC) – The Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2020-2021 US Pacific Territories Fishery Capacity-Building Scholarship.
The scholarships are offered annually to college students with close connections to American Samoa, Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) who are pursuing degrees that will bolster the Territories’ capacity to manage their fishery ecosystems. Students who accept a scholarship agree to work with their local fishery agency upon graduation for an equivalent amount of time that they receive the scholarship.
The 2020-2021 recipients include Aveipepa Fua (American Samoa) who will be pursuing a bachelor’s degree in marine science at the University of Hawai’i at Hilo; Jude Lizama (CNMI) who will be pursuing a bachelor’s degree in oceanography with a concentration in fisheries science at Hawai’i Pacific University; and Leilani Sablan (Guam) who will be pursuing a master’s degree in biology at the University of Guam.
Since the scholarship program began in 2016, five recipients have graduated, with three having fulfilled their work requirements in American Samoa and the CNMI and two beginning their work commitment in 2019; and six recipients are poised to graduate in 2020 (two students) and 2021 (four students).
The scholarship program was established through a memorandum of understanding involving several federal agencies, the local fishery agencies in the Territories and several colleges and universities in Hawai’i and the Territories. It is funded by the Council, NOAA Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center and NOAA Pacific Islands Regional Office.
Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council:
Secretary of Commerce appointees from nominees selected by American Samoa, CNMI, Guam and Hawai’i governors: Archie Soliai, StarKist (American Samoa) (chair); John Gourley, Micronesian Environmental Services (CNMI) (vice chair); Michael Duenas, Guam Fishermen’s Cooperative Association (Guam) (vice chair); Edwin Watamura, Waialua Boat Club (Hawai’i) (vice chair); Howard Dunham, commercial fisherman (American Samoa); Monique Amani, business owner (Guam); Michael Goto, United Fishing Agency (Hawai’i); McGrew Rice, charter boat captain (CNMI). Designated state officials: Anthony Benavente, CNMI Dept. of Lands and Natural Resources; Suzanne Case, Hawai’i Dept. of Land & Natural Resources; Chelsa Muña-Brecht, Guam Dept. of Agriculture; Henry Sesepasara, American Samoa Dept. of Marine & Wildlife Resources. Designated federal officials (voting): Michael Tosatto, NMFS Pacific Islands Regional Office. Designated federal officials (non-voting): RADM Kevin Lunday, USCG 14th District; Michael Brakke, US Department of State; Brian Peck, USFWS.