From Oral Histories to Fishing Regulations: Defining the importance of the Marianas National Monument to indigenous fishers

The Marianas Trench Marine National Monument was established on January 16, 2009. Traditional indigenous fishing is an activity—alongside commercial and recreational fishing—permitted and regulated within marine national monuments. Unfortunately, within the regulations used to govern these areas, the specific activities covered by "traditional indigenous fishing" had not previously been well-defined, making management of the activity difficult. In an effort to create regulations appropriate to support non-commercial fishing in the waters of the islands unit, the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council requested research be conducted to provide scientific basis for these regulations. To that end, social science researchers documented past and present trips to the islands' unit waters taken by residents of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) and Guam. The researchers reviewed historical records of trips and conducted 40 personal interviews. Ultimately, the researchers’ work was cited in the regulations promulgated by the National Marine Fisheries Service and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) on June 13, 2013, to manage "traditional indigenous fishing." CNMI and Guam residents were allowed to continue fishing the waters in the area, with restrictions to ensure that the fish were used for food and not commercial benefit.


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  • Accession Number: 01679212
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Aug 2 2018 7:48PM