WPRFMC appoints Monique Genereux Amani to fishery council representing Guam

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Amani (second from right) inspires other women to go fishing and get involved in local fishing competitions. (Photo courtesy Monique Amani).

The Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council has announced the appointment of Monique Genereux Amani to an at-large voting member position representing Guam.

Born and raised on Guam, Amani has been an active recreational fisher for many years, participating in national and international spearfishing tournaments.

She currently owns and manages Mosa’s Joint restaurant.

Amani loves to spearfish with her
family. Can you spot her favorite fish
(hangon, or orangespine unicornfish)?
(Photo courtesy Monique Amani).

Why did you want to be part of the Council?

I wanted to be a Council member so that I can help ensure that there are still fish in not only Guam’s waters but all of the Western Pacific’s waters so the future generations, like my nieces and other kids, can still fish. The ocean provides for all living creatures, and I have always been able to either earn a paycheck or at least feed myself and my family through our oceans. I want to be able to do something to ensure it is safe, clean, sustainable and plentiful for all of the youth growing up in Guam.

People should be able to make a living from our ocean, and our community should all be
involved.

How long have you been involved with fisheries in Guam? What changes have you seen since you started?

I started trolling with my dad at the age of eight, started spearfishing at 13, so about 30 years now, recreationally.

I joined the US Coast Guard in 2003 and for eight years I did search and rescue and general and fisheries boardings to check for violations. I also have been a commercial boat captain for more than 10 years, taking customers SCUBA diving as well as fishing/trolling and helping with crew transfers for fishing vessels.

Since I started, I have noticed a lot more fishermen fishing, a lot more boats and a lot less
reef fish. Due to the lack of enforcement, Guam’s reef fish are being overfished—I have definitely seen a decline.

What are some challenges that Guam fisheries are facing?

The biggest problem is the lack of enforcement—we have seven conser-vation officers for the whole island. We barely have any rules or laws in place to begin with, but the ones
we do have aren’t being followed because of a lack of enforcement.

What was your first impression after your first Council meeting in American Samoa in October?

I was a little overwhelmed, to say the least. I literally went from a Council training in Maryland for three days straight to the Council meeting in American Samoa for three more days. It was a lot of information to take in, but, by the last day, I felt I was getting a slight grasp on all of the
information.

If you could share one interesting fact about the Council, what would it be?

There is a very wide range of Council member experience. I feel everyone in the Council brings something valuable to the table in either personal or educational experience. I feel we all get along well and all have common goals to sustain fisheries and the fishing industries on our islands.

As a restaurant owner, do you work with local fishermen to purchase and serve fish?

Yes, we buy as many local products as we can—this includes vegetables, fruit and fish as well as promoting other local businesses.

Lastly, what is your favorite fish to eat?

Hangon, or orangespine unicornfish.