20 Aug 2014

CNMI governor opposes Obama marine monument expansion

4:53 pm on 20 August 2014

The governor for the Northern Marianas, Eloy Inos, has joined in the calls for President Obama to not go ahead with the expansion of the Pacific Marine National Monument.

Last week American Samoa's governor, Lolo Matalasi Moliga, asked the president to abandon the proposal to expand the monument from 50 nautical miles, to 200 nautical miles.

The Northern Marianas' three northernmost islands, Maug, Uracas and Asuncion, are part of the existing marine national monument.

Our correspondent in Saipan, Mark Rabago, says governor Eloy Inos is also opposing the expansion because it will strip locals of their traditional fishing grounds, and an important part of their culture.

"They are preventing future generations from doing what their forefathers have been doing, which is fishing around those areas. The three islands the CNMI surrendered for the Marianas Trench monument, those were traditional fishing grounds, and now they cannot do anything with it. And any expansion that would include other islands and areas of the Pacific would infringe on that right."

Mark Rabago says there is also the feeling that Pacific Islanders know best how to sustain their own resources.