The outreach program of the Saipan Fishermen’s Association at the Da’ok Academy got a boost yesterday with a $2,500 donation from J & MJ Mobil, with the hope that more of the academy’s students will learn more about traditional fishing in the CNMI.
The donation is intended to facilitate the association’s outreach for the youth through the academy, which is a non-traditional high school.
“It’s all about the kids,” said SFA president Gene Weaver. “As grownups, we pretty much know the techniques and styles and the different types of fishing, but I think it is important for us to get the kids involved now and show them what we have, what knowledge we have, and just keep passing it on.”
The SFA course at the Da’ok Academy is a pilot program launched last June to teach the youth about sustainable fishing and the environment.
Aside from SFA, the students were also taught by representatives of the Bureau of Environmental and Coastal Quality, Micronesia Islands Nature Alliance, and Department of Public Safety’s Boating Safety.
With pollution plaguing the ocean and the beaches, part of fishing is understanding that everyone must take care of the environment, Weaver said. SFA also teaches traditional fishing to honor the islands’ ancestors.
“That’s how they lived, by living off the land and the water, and that is what we are trying to teach the…next generation,” he said.
Mobil has been supporting SFA’s Saipan International Fishing Derby for the past 35 years, and this is their first to support the association’s youth program.
Mobil’s Anthony Wenceslao said that there are not many programs that actually teach the youth how to fish correctly and safely. “I’ve seen SFA in their outreach where they actually teach the kids to do it the right way, and follow some of the cultural practices.”