Bill 160 creates an ocean and fisheries council that will be tasked with creating rules, regulations, and fees for fishing on Guam.
Senator McCreadie’s Bill 160 Passes
and Creates First Locally Devised Fisheries Management Council
Hagåtña, Guam – Bill No. 160-33 (COR) or the “Guam Ocean and Fisheries Conservation Act of 2015” introduced by Senator Brant T. McCreadie passed in Legislative Session today.
On the bill’s passage, Manny Duenas, President of the Guam Fishermen’s Co-Operative Association, stated, “The Council will be the first locally devised fisheries management council that I know of. Federal authorities have always spoken for us on ocean and fisheries affairs. This Council gives our people a voice.” Bill 160 establishes the Guam Ocean and Fisheries Management Council to coordinate and promote the conservation of Guam’s oceans, fisheries, marine and freshwater resources. Duenas had also drafted a petition in support of Bill 160 which was signed by over 300 community members, local fishermen, and their families. The petition was received by the Office of Senator Brant McCreadie last year shortly after the bill was introduced.
Bill 160 also establishes the Guam Ocean and Fisheries Conservation and Development Fund to be used for the construction of boat ramps in the northern village of Yigo and the southern village of Talofofo for use by fishermen, first responders, emergency personnel, and the general public; additional conservation officer positions; research and development related to the conservation of ocean resources and coral reefs; marina improvement; mitigation of surface and storm water runoff and erosion; and activities related to the preservation and perpetuation of Guam’s indigenous Chamorro Culture and Heritage as it relates to the ocean and fishing.
One of the key duties of the Council is to prepare and coordinate the implementation of indigenous fishing rights pursuant to Public Law 29-127 and to include two members to represent and vote on behalf of Chamorro grassroots organizations, amendments proffered by Senator Rory J. Respicio.
Senator McCreadie stated, “The passage of Bill 160 is the first step in creating a vision to protect our island’s precious natural resources for our children and for many generations to come. It embodies an important value of the Chamorro culture which is to care for our natural resources because it takes care of us by providing us with food and other necessities for life.”