Guam – Guam’s Fishing Community and organizations have reached agreement on supporting a substitute shark finning bill, according to a joint release issued by the Guam Saltwater Anglers [GOSA], the Guam Fisherman’s Coop and the Marianas Underwater Fishing Federation.
The ammended measure would:
* allow restaurants in possession of imported shark fins which are used to prepare shark fin soup a period of 180 days to deplete their stock.”
* provide local law enforcement to complement the authority \to enforce the Federal Statute relating to shark finning by making it unlawful to possess, sale and imported ray parts in Guam.
* require the Department of Agriculture to involve and collaborate with the community on this issue and report back to the Guam Legislature on its findings every three years.
According to their statement, the fishing community is backing Bill 44-31 and they are now urging lawmakers to pass a prohibition on shark finning.
However their release also states that “The intent of the bill is to protect the traditions, custom, culture and livelihood of the people of Guam.”
The fishing community has been working on the revised legislation with the Chair of the Legislature’s Natural Resources Committee, Senator Rory Respicio.
The President of GOSA, Tom Camacho, is quoted as saying: “We have been working diligently with Senator Rory Respicio and his staff to see to it that this Bill is favorable to everyone concerned. We feel that the intent and actions of this Bill protects Guam’s unique traditions and culture and addresses the activity of shark finning by taking a stance to prohibit such activity. We greatly appreciate all the efforts and resources that Senator Respicio and his Committee provided and we believe, through collaboration, exchange of ideas, communication, patience and understanding, that we have worked towards a resolution for the protection of fishing as a tradition and culture as well as the prohibition of shark finning.”
The release also quotes Guam Fishermen’s Coop President Manny Duenas as saying that “Shark finning is not a practice that exists in Guam’s Fisheries and it is not part of the long-sanding traditions of the fishing community on Guam. Management of our Marine Resources is not something we, the fishing community, take lightly. The concern o the fishing community demonstrates that despite the iincreasing shark population, the community acted responsibly and does not resort to this practice of shark finning.”