22 Oct 2008

Thousands sign petition in CNMI supporting national marine

11:20 am on 22 October 2008

More than five thousand people have signed a petition in CNMI supporting a proposal to establish a national marine around CNMI's northern islands.

The Bush administration is proposing to preserve 115 thousand square miles of ocean encompassing three islands of the Northern Marianas.

The plan for the monument in it's current form would entail a no-catch zone and no mining activities in those areas.

There is strong opposition in CNMI from the governor Benigno Fitial and many other local officials.

However, our CNMI correspondent, Mark Rabago, says there is also strong support for the monument on the ground.

"The chamber of commerce has supported it. The chairman of hotel organisations has supporting it, newspapers have gone to print supporting it and we see five thousand signatures out there. Just yesterday they even said that it might even have mining benefits back if we approve this deal. We're keeping our fingers crossed here those who support this proposal."

Mark Rabago says there is still much to discuss and compromises to be made in regards to the monument, and he expects a lot of this to be done in the next two weeks.