Public-private partnership advances next gen fishermen

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Posted on Jan 20 2020
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Saipan Fishermen’s Association Youth Fishing Club members pose with Gov. Ralph DLG Torres and Fishing Tackle and Sporting Goods owners Pierre Lam and Catherine Lam last Saturday on Capital Hill. Fishing Tackle donated reels, rods, and shirts for the students to use as they go fishing. (IVA MAURIN)

Last Saturday was a treat for all members of the Saipan Fishermen’s Association’s Youth Fishing Club, who got rods and reels courtesy of Fishing Tackle and Sporting Goods, which donated the fishing equipment just as the club members are getting ready to venture into the open ocean in the next few weeks.

Pierre Lam and Catherine Lam, the owners of the Fishing Tackle and Sporting Goods, were on hand to turn over the donated equipment to Gov. Ralph DLG Torres and the club members.

In his speech at the brief turnover ceremony, Torres jokingly told the young, soon-to-be fishermen, “Make sure you catch fish, not blocks,” which was met with thunderous laughter. “Enjoy, appreciate the water, appreciate our natural resources and take care of it, because what you put into it is what you’re going to get out of it.”

The club members are part of SFA’s eight-month fishing program for the youth and are composed of students of Da’ok Academy, Saipan Southern High School, Marianas High School, and Kagman High School.

Catherine Lam said the slogan of Fishing Tackle and Sporting Goods is “discover the joy of fishing,” which is an apt motivation for them to make the donation.

“The next best thing to discovering the joy of fishing is sharing that joy with others and sharing it together,” she said, adding that time spent fishing is time well-spent.

“We’re here to support the events of fishing because it is time well-spent. It is productive. With this group, they will bond together in one same mission to discover the joy of fishing and to share that with others,” Catherine Lam added.

MHS Fishing Club vice president Dhan Robles extended the club’s thanks to SFA and Fishing Tackle.

“I’m thankful for my free fishing gear from SFA and all the sponsors. They will help benefit me and all the other young fishermen here. It will help us provide food for our family. Also, we can teach others [about] the way of fishing, so our culture doesn’t die out, and so we can rely on nature and everything around us,” he said.

Starting with just the Da’ok Academy in June of last year, the “Tasi to Table” youth fishing club has expanded to include three other high schools.

Fishing Tackle and Sporting Goods manager Pierre Lam, left, turns over the company’s donation of fishing equipment to Gov. Ralph DLG Torres last Saturday on Capital Hill. (IVA MAURIN)

“Now, it’s pretty much expanded, and is looking fun. Everybody’s enjoying, everybody’s on the boat with us, Fishing Tackle, other government agencies, and all,” SFA vice chair for outreach Alex Castro Jr. said. “There’s no program like ours. We’re the first one to do this. Like Cathy said in her speech, time spent fishing is time well spent. With that knowledge, you can teach the future generation or your friends, and family. It’s pretty good to have a hobby that can support your family, feed your family.”

Aside from learning the rudiments of fishing, the students are also organizing the 1st Wahoo in the Marianas Fishing Tournament on Feb. 29, Saturday, all proceeds of which would go to the SFA Youth Fishing Club.

MHS student Bryant Dy, one of the students, advises people who want to be fishermen to “just go at it.”

“If you really have a passion, stick [to] your passion as the ocean will give you rewards. Personally for me, I don’t go fishing just to catch fish. I go fishing to hang out with my friends, to connect with family, connect with friends, and this the best feeling in the world,” he added.

For more information about the SFA and the 1st Wahoo Fishing Tournament, contact SFA president Gene Weaver at 483-4363.

Iva Maurin | Author
Iva Maurin is a communications specialist with environment and community outreach experience in the Philippines and in California. She has a background in graphic arts and is the Saipan Tribune’s community and environment reporter. Contact her at iva_maurin@saipantribune.com
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