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12 23Thu11272014

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Back Local News Juan ‘Atulai’ Taitano sounds off

Juan ‘Atulai’ Taitano sounds off

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HE’S got his boat and gear back and after receiving some sound advice, Juan “Atulai” Taitano says he’s going to continue to fish despite his recent arrest for allegedly fishing inside a marina.

The Variety caught up with the long time fisherman in Sinajaña yesterday at a relative’s home. Taitano, still defiant, said the Port Authority officials realized they shouldn’t have arrested him or even confiscated his boat, net, and some 1,000 pounds of fish that had gone to waste.

“What they’ve done is ‘isao’ meaning evil. When you waste food, like 1,000 pounds of fish, because you’re trying to prove a political point or fill an agenda to make yourself look good, it’s isao,” Taitano said, adding that every fish he caught represents a soul past and present that could’ve eaten that fish.

“If my father and uncles and grandpa saw that this fish was wasted in an evil fashion, they would be very upset,” he said. “Evidently, the port officials came to their senses.”

Taitano was still given a citation to appear in court a year and five months from the time of his arrest and answer to the charge of alleged illegal fishing.

“The case load is so overloaded, it’s not funny. They have so many cases to take care of before mine,” Taitano said of the court system.

One of his concerns now is the effect the uncaught atulai will have on the Manahac season, which is just around the corner.

“All of these fish are seasonal. There’s nothing permanent. If it comes in, it comes in. And if it doesn’t, I wouldn’t be surprised,” he said.

Taitano also disputes claims that he is a commercial fisherman.

“There are no commercial fishermen on island. We have commercial farmers but not commercial fishermen,” he said, with the exception of the Chuukese community.

“They’ve adapted and they are, to me, the best fishermen on Guam. They go out in the worst of conditions. They do what they’ve brought from Chuuk,” Taitano added.

Taitano also touched on last week’s drowning of a man, who while spearfishing was swept over the reef off Asan bay near the Shelton beach.

“We lost a fisherman last week which makes 147 fishermen deaths. That’s the highest degree of danger in any occupation, even higher than our policemen, firemen or soldiers,” he pointed out.

When asked why he changed his mind about fishing, Taitano cited a friend of his named John Mafnas Bernardo who said “Johnny, don’t give up the fight!” Bernardo recently passed away.

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