Asai hopes to invite other Micronesian islands

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Posted on May 19 2008

Marianas Apnea Spearfishing Club president Morito Asai is hoping that in the coming years other Micronesian islands would join the annual spearfishing tournament.

Asai said Palau, the Marshall Islands, Nauru, Kiribati, and the four states of the Federated States of Micronesia—Chuuk, Kosrae, Pohnpei, and Yap—are welcome to join in next year’s competitions.

Asai, in an interview, said aside from Micronesian nations he would also invite Japanese divers for the third staging of the one-day spearfishing tournament.

“Hopefully we could get some Japanese divers for next year since the [Marianas Visitors Authority] is one of our sponsors.”

The Aqua Smith Dive Shop owner said that the sport of spearfishing is growing. “The number of local divers is increasing and this year alone we have representatives from Guam, Tinian, and Rota joining the ones from Saipan.

Forty divers joined this year’s competition, which is a 60-percent increase from the 24 that competed in 2007. “I am glad that they all returned safely and caught a lot of fish compared to last year.”

Asai said competition is not only the main focus of the annual tournament. “Divers also get the chance to compare strategies and learn the latest fishing techniques from other divers.”

The tournament began at 6am and the last boat returned to Smiling Cove at 3:30pm. Divers went as far as Cowtown in the north to Naftan and Aguingan points in the south.

Jess Hapdai, who placed second in the individual total weight category, said he would like to thank his late sponsor Ben Concepcion for all the things he learned about fishing.

Hapdai, who was joined by Pete Teigita, said they went to Cowtown to catch a variety of fish. “The current was strong and the waters are rough but I survived and endured everything just to find the variety of fish.”

Hapdai, who placed sixth last year, placed second to Mike General in the individual total weight category. “Placing second is good enough for me. It’s a good day to fish and to finish second.”

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