Marianas Variety Guam Edition – The Local and Regional Newspaper

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Another fishing boat confiscated

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ALL his life, Joe Cruz, 53, has been fishing to provide food for his table. That’s now on hold after his 14-foot boat was confiscated, along with his net and 30 fish, by Port Authority of Guam police for allegedly fishing within the Hagåtña Marina or Boat Basin.

According to Cruz, he wasn’t even within 100 feet of the basin. He said he was fishing on the other side of a roadway/bridge to the Hagåtña Wastewater Treatment Plant.

“Everything’s gone,” said the Barrigada resident, who is also disabled and unemployed. He is not sure what he’s going to do now to get food on the table.

Several people were also chased out of the Marina parking lot by Port Authority police who said if they don’t have a boat in the marina, they shouldn’t be there. One witness told the Variety that when the group asked Port Authority police who is enforcing that rule, one officer said to them, “I make the rules!”

The Variety contacted Port Authority management for comment on the matter, and PAG General Manager Mary Torres issued the following statement: “The Marina rules and regulations are being enforced and this arrest is being handled through the legal system.”

“The Port is taking the public’s concerns into consideration and would ideally like to have a situation where the fishing community can co-exist in the marinas. But, as it stands, safety is our first and foremost concern and we must adhere to the rules and regulations currently in place,” she added.

Fishermen’s Co-op President Manny Duenas, however, believes the Port Authority should be more aware of the laws and what types of nets are used.

In a letter to former PAG General Manager Pedro Leon Guerrero, Duenas pointed out what appeared to be a selective type of enforcement by the Port Authority police over a matter that is not within their jurisdiction.

“The responsibility lies with the Department of Agriculture to promulgate rules and regulations. As a matter of fact, in the Guam fishing regulations, the ‘surround’ and ‘gillnets’ are allowed,” Duenas said.

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