Bill proposes to legalize sale of locally caught octopus
By Pacific Island Times News Staff
Sen. Jose “Pedo” Terlaje has introduced a bill that would legalize the limited sale of locally caught octopus.
While harvesting octopus for personal consumption is allowed under Guam's existing law, the sale of the marine invertebrate is listed as a crime that corresponds to a penalty of $250.
Bil 322-36 would amend the fishing law to allow local market transactions for octopus caught in Guam waters. Export of this marine resource, however, would not be allowed under the proposed bill. The bill would impose a daily limit of 100. Each person would be limited to five pieces a day.
Terlaje said Bil 322-36 is aimed at preserving sustainability and food security by reforming Guam's fishing regulations. The bill seeks to enhance existing statutes and reclassify certain violations.
For example, the bill would change the charge of not wearing an orange vest while hunting from a misdemeanor to a citation violation, punishable by a ticket and fine.
"Because this charge has not historically been charged as a criminal offense, the citation would allow for consequences and a deterrent to this violation of hunting laws," states a press release from Terlaje's office.
The bill would also increase the charge for using explosives or poisons while fishing from a misdemeanor to a felony because of the devastation it can cause to an entire ecosystem.
The bill would authorize conservation officers to seize and impound vessels and arrest crew involved with commercial overfishing in our marine preserves, which provide a sustainable breeding ground for fish that local fishermen and population depend on for food.
“Our marine preserves are an important part of maintaining a sustainable fishing stock by providing protected breeding grounds. Illegal commercial overfishing is threatening the sustainability of our fish stock and this bill provides our conservation officers the teeth in the law to protect our marine life for our local fishermen now and in the future,” Terlaje said. “Protecting the sustainability of our marine life and game animals are integral to our food security.”