Thursday, February 24, 2011

With Support of Guam Fishermen, Lawmakers Pass Amended Shark Fin Ban Measure

Guam- After ironing out their issues with Senator Rory Respicio and Vice Speaker BJ Cruz's shark finning bill, Guam's fishing organizations are now supporting a substitute version of the measure.

Guam Organization of Saltwater Anglers (GOSA) President Tom Camacho says the fishing community is backing Bill 44 because the amended measure allows restaurants in possession of imported shark fins to deplete their stock in 180 days, as well as give local law enforcement the ability to enforce the federal statute on shark finning and ray parts. It also would require the Department of Agriculture to involve the community and report to the legislature every three years on the issue. Camacho says the problem with the original measure was that it implied the local fishing community practiced shark finning.

“It's kind of disheartening that to elude to the fact that it happens on Guam is really a false statement” said Camacho. “So what we wanted to do is mention that it's an international problem and that we support the prohibition, the practice of shark finning. In addition to that, there are existing federal laws and rules out there that also control how things are done in the open seas. We wanted to make sure that the bill kind of mirrors what the federal government is saying that is and is not allowed.”

Camacho mentions the intent of the bill now protects Guam's unique traditions and culture. The alternate version of the shark finning bill also addresses the dangerous practice of shark feeding. Camacho adds this act alters the shark's behavior and poses a threat to human life.

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