Youth involvement in fishing is getting deeper in the CNMI.
Last Saturday, the Saipan Fishermen’s Association Youth Fishing Club grew even bigger with the addition of three new chapters: Saipan Southern High School, Marianas High School, and Kagman High School.
With over 30 students participating from the chapters, SFA’s vision to provide an understanding of its mission towards ocean preservation, as well as of the island’s fishery industry, to the youth would now be even more realized.
SFA president Gene Weaver opened up the 2019/2020 program with an introduction of the association, its presence in the Commonwealth, and its efforts to building capacity for the CNMI to ensure that future generations will have the opportunity to enjoy the marine resources available today.
“It is our intent and mission to provide education, as well as incorporate knowledge to our youth so that they become greater stewards of our islands and its resources,” said Weaver. “As we continue to use what we have, we will need to ensure that we establish a sustainable way to fish and how to protect our oceans.”
Presenters from the Micronesia Islands Nature Alliance and the Division of Fish and Wildlife provided students with lessons on how they can be a part of protecting marine resources. Both MINA and DFW have been a part of the SFA’s outreach program since June of this year, and continue to be an avid SFA partner to reaching out and educating the community.
The DFW will also be presenting on the fish species around the islands and share information regarding species present on Saipan. It is essential for SFA’s new young fishermen/women to be aware of these edible and non-edible species as they embark on an eight-month program with the SFA.
“We intend to share our knowledge with the youth,” added Weaver. “SFA believes in mentoring the youth through its assets. These include skill sets on various fishing techniques: trolling, shallow bottom, shoreline casting, net fishing (talaya), and deep drop.”
Also, more women are now involved with fishing, according to SFA member Vicky Benavente, adding that fishing is no longer just a man’s thing to do. Benavente encourages more young women to get involved in the SFA Youth Fishing Club, to stay active, and be a part of the community.
SFA Outreach Program coordinator Alex Castro Jr. said the SFA Youth Fishing program will run for about eight months and will encompass not only the ideology of the various fishing techniques, but also self-imaging, skills on CPR and first aid, and boating safety do’s and don’ts.