Tuesday, August 28, 2007


Ok, so I was a bit wound up this morning when I wrote my post about the shark feeding incident at the Grotto, and as a wise friend of mine pointed out, no blog should ever be written at 5:12 am. I admit that I was frustrated over the way the situation was handled on the previous shark feeding incident. At this point, I don't want to say too much as I don't want to jeopardize any pending case. But I would like to give credit to a couple different people who were very responsive and jumped right on this.

The first was Mike Nisperos at the Attorney General's Office. I notified Mike very early this morning. He's about the only person I know that gets almost as early a start as I do. Mike promised to follow up on it, and he was true to his word. I talked to him before I did the talkshow, so that didn't spur him on at all, he was already determined to do something about this. I couple hours later I got a call from one of his investigators asking me to come in for an interview about the incident this afternoon. They were very professional and responsive to my concerns. Where it goes from here is entirely up to them, but after having talked with them I am comfortable that they will do whatever they can. I know the Attorney General's Office has some very big issues on their plate at the moment, but their response to this situation shows that they realize the potential impact something like this could have on tourism. Hats off to Matt Gregory and Mike Nisperos for their blazing speed and response to this.

Then I also talked with Marianne Teregeyo at Fish & Wildlife about the situation this morning as well. Marianne just recently returned to the island after obtaining her college degree and is now in charge of the enforcement section. She has only been on the job for a few days, but is determined that her department will be responsive and will take any complaint seriously. I knew Marianne years ago when she was the Public Information Officer for the same department. I liked her and worked well with her then, and it seems like she's picking up right where she left off. She called me several times this morning following up on various aspects of it, and then also scheduled me for an interview with the enforcement officer she had assigned to this case.

These two people are quickly restoring my confidence that the system can work, and that we do have some people who genuinely care about their jobs and responsibilities. Yes, I jumped to some conclusions about the way things were handled the last time. Could something have been done differently after the first shark feeding incident, possibly - but I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt seeing the way they responded this time around. There was also an incident over the weekend where someone saw some spearfishermen in the Managaha sanctuary. They took pictures of them and called it in to Fish & Wildlife. It is my understanding that Fish & Wildlife were also very responsive and actually caught the spearfishermen in the act. Maybe things are finally starting to change around here, and enforcement is being taken seriously.

So I probably jumped to some wrong conclusions this morning and was still caught up in the heat of the moment and outraged at what had happened. As of right now I have to say the response of our local government has knocked my socks off. Obviously I'll keep watching the case and keep you updated. The Grotto is our #1 dive attraction and deserves to be protected as such.


Brad said...

Great job Harry! I called the Attorney Generals Office twice but I could only talk to the secretary. She seemed to understand why people would be upset with such an incident, especially when children were present. This might also be a good time to point out that you'd seen a dive boat dropping anchors on coral.
They may institute some new guidelines for taking action on community tips.

Keep us updated.

Angelo Villagomez said...

Alright, Brad, when you get to Saipan, you can have hobbits. I lay claim to Jedi.

Good post, Harry, giving credit where credit is due.

Brad said...

...Angelo...for 30 years trained jedi have I.

join me and together we can rule the galaxy as...as....well, no, we probably can't rule the galaxy. But we could build the first Jedi temple. And to mix movies, "If you build it, they will come."

*"Jedi" is a registered religion in Australia...we could start a whole new tourism wave.