The Department of Land and Natural Resources, through its Division of Fish and Wildlife, has teamed up with the Saipan Fishermen’s Association to teach the younger members of the community the different species of fish, as well as spearfishing.
DFW Fisheries supervisor Mike Tenorio said what they are trying to teach goes beyond the experience of catching a fish into understanding the behavior of the fish itself.
“…You need to understand how the fish behaves, what do they do, where are they at, when are their peak seasons. This builds to the person’s understanding of how to harvest and when to harvest and when not to harvest,” he said
Members of the Youth Fishing Club of the Saipan Fishermen’s Association were shown the different species of fish found in the Marianas, and were taught the markers that would help them identify the fish easily, as well as information on where the fish are usually found.
Tenorio, who himself started fishing as a young boy by going with his relatives when they went fishing, still fishes these days, but more for research.
“We do what’s called a fish life history study,” Tenorio explained. “We go out and we sample certain targeted food fish species to understand the reproductive cycle—their age and maturity and at what point in their life or age do they become reproductively mature. From that, we use to try to manage the resources that are being sold in the market.”
Aside from fish species, DFW also talked about spearfishing, some of its dangers, what to expect, and how to avoid those dangers.
“Nowadays, there’s a lot of media experiencing [and showing] spearfishing,” Tenorio said. “But getting out and doing it yourself, getting out into the world and seeing things for yourself helps in ground truthing. Experiencing it is different from seeing it on TV. It is a healthy way of life, it’s a way of understanding your resources.”
The DFW has been a part of the SFA’s outreach program since June, to talk about the fish species in the Marianas, which the batch of new young fishermen should know before they head out to the open ocean.
Set to run for eight months, the SFA Youth Fishing program supports SFA’s vision to give the youth an understanding of ocean preservation and the fishery industry in the CNMI. For more information, visit SFA at https://www.facebook.com/sfacnmi/.