Guam - If you've ever slipped and fallen trying to cast your line from the Hagatna Marina, the Guam Organization of Saltwater Anglers has partnered with the Department of Agriculture to construct a fishing platform.

"The intention of this the project that the governor would like to see happen is to construct a platform about 500 feet long from down in Paseo all the way to the Farmers Fishing Co-Op," noted Tina Taitague, the director of the Department of Agriculture. Before the end of the year, she hopes to host the groundbreaking for the Hagatna Channel Fishing Platform, a project that would make it safe for fishermen of all ages and abilities to cast their line.

"GOSA, which is a non-profit organization, is doing the legwork and Agriculture as a government entity has to come in and so we are the one that is doing the process of getting a permit from army corps because that riprap there belongs to Army Corps [of Engineers]," she explained.

Taitague says accessibility to fishing is important. After all, fishing is a part of the culture, but not everyone can afford a boat making shoreline fishing the most prominent of methods. "So the Department of Agriculture with the help of other agencies which owns the property, the parks and recreations who own the property outside the riprab. The land there itself and the port authority are the ones that are responsible for the water. Together with these three agencies we're working together so we can get a permit from the Army Corps so we can construct this platform," she said.

Taitague says there's funding for the project, including a $150,000 grant GOSA received from the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration and $330,000 in funds from the Marine Conservation Plan. In addition, the Department of Agriculture's Sports Fishery Fund can supplement $190,000 for maintenance.

Once the project receives the green light from the Army Corps, construction will be conducted in four phases: Phase One consists of the design of a 220'-x-20' ADA fishing/viewing platform on the ripap to include the initial construction of the first 73' of the platform with a ramp. The second phase entails the construction of two additional 74' sections and the final phases to complete the remaining 28'.