Monday, January 31, 2011

Simon Sanchez Sharks Meet Rob Stewart

Simon Sanchez Sharks and Sharkwater Filmmaker Rob Stewart Honored

Guam - Guam State Senator Rory J. Respicio gave opening remarks at Simon A. Sanchez High School (SSHS) today [Monday], prior to the screening of Sharkwater, a world-renowned documentary by visiting filmmaker Rob Stewart. The cafeteria was packed with Sanchez Sharks, including the Student Body Vice President, the Sharks MADE (Making A Difference in the Environment) Club President and school officials.

The event was held to welcome Rob Stewart to Guam and raise awareness of the endangerment of the world’s shark population as demand has boomed for shark fin soup, especially across Asia, and has in turn exponentially increased shark finning over recent years. The CNMI has recently become the second place in the world to completely ban shark finning.

With Vice Speaker BJ Cruz’ Bill No. 44-31(COR) – “An act to prohibit the possession, selling, offering for sale, trading, or distribution of shark fins and ray parts by amending §63101 and §63129 and adding a new §63114.1 and §63114.2 to Chapter 63 of Title 5 of the Guam Code Annotated” before the Guam Legislature, Guam is poised to become the world’s third shark sanctuary.

After opening remarks and the screening of Sharkwater, the crowd walked along the school’s hallways which were lined with poster after poster expressing support for the passage of Bill 44 and opposition to the fishing of sharks and the consumption of shark fin soup. Everyone regrouped in the Sharks’ library, which temporarily served as the dining area in which the Shark’s Pro-Start class served homemade spaghetti, garlic bread and salad to their school’s honored guests.

Surrounded by more posters expressing the same pro-shark sentiments, Senator Respicio and Senator Tina Muña Barnes were joined by former Senator Carlotta Leon Guerrero, representing the Pew Ocean Commission, and Shark MADE Club President Evelyn Quiel, in presenting Resolution No. 19-31(COR) –“Relative to acknowledging award-winning filmmaker Rob Stewart for his advocacy in providing positive attention for sharks and exposing the environmental and over-fishing realities faced by sharks; for debunking shark stereotypes; for educating the public on these issues; for building support for their survival; and for creating the epic, world-renowned documentary, Sharkwater.”

Senator Respicio, sponsor of Resolution 19, expressed the sentiments of the Legislature and the importance of joining the force against shark finning. “In light of the ban in other areas across the Pacific, like Palau, Hawaii and the CNMI, Bill 44 closes the potential loophole and would prohibit these people from coming to Guam waters to continue these types of activities,” Senator Respicio said. “I’m thankful to Rob Stewart for his advocacy and to the Sharks for their mobilized movement against the practice of shark finning and raising awareness of the issue."

Senator Respicio invites the public to attend the Public Hearing on Bill 44, to be held tomorrow, Tuesday, February 1, 2011 at 5:30 PM in the Legislature’s Public Hearing Room.

Published on Pacific News Center on Monday, January 31, 2011

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