Angler accused of net fishing at Boat Basin - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Angler accused of net fishing at Boat Basin

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by Sabrina Salas Matanane

Guam - He's been fishing for more than 60 years, but a recent arrest by the Port Police have him reeling. Stepped-up enforcement to stop people from net fishing in the Agana Boat Basin led to the arrest of John Taitano, also known as "Johnny Atulai".

"I was approached by the Port Authority people," he recalled. According to Johnny, the Port Police confiscated his catch, boat and $25,000 in equipment. The worst part, he says, he wasn't even net fishing in the boat basin. "I came from Alupang, fought the elements, high seas and big winds and we brought it here. Because this is the only port of entry."

He says all he knows is someone made a complaint and Port Police picked him up at around five o'clock Sunday. "The Port Authority just took almost a thousand pounds of fish that rotted over night," he said.

Today he was back at the Boat Basin watching his decaying catch hauled away by port personnel. He can't help think why he's getting all the attention. "See these guys on the dock, agriculture was out here today,  and I'm blowing the whistle on everybody Department of Agriculture they're snagging the fish the fish is so big now, they don't bite bait they're snagging where's the authority on that," he said.

New Port general manager Mary Torres says her people are doing their jobs and reviewing the rules and regulations at the marina. "We're sensitive to the fact that the fisherman have a point of view and they have some concerns and some needs. We also similarly have some needs and some things that we have to do to protect ourselves and the safe operations and use of the marina so at some point we'll have to revisit what those rules are, contemplating both sides of the equation," she said.

This isn't Johnny Atulai's first arrest, he was busted back in November matter of fact he says he's been arrested 38 times officially and unofficially. "Billy the Kid, Al Capone got nothing on me. One thing I learned the special word from Judge Abotti, Judge Lamorena, Weaks, and al these other judges Siguenza I was exonerated in other words found not guilty of anything," he said.

And with this latest arrest he's confident he'll be let off the hook just like all the other times, with 60 years of fishing under his belt he says he knows the rules. Unfortunately he can't say the same for the Port Authority and can only wonder?

"Why are you singling out coming out special enforcement for Johnny Atuali?"

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