Greener BeeGreen TipsReef Tips: Fishtory

Reef Tips: Fishtory

Category: Green Tips

By Ras Raven Saimon – 2017 CRI Summer Intern

Derbies are the biggest fishing events that happen in the CNMI. The Saipan Fisherman’s Association just recently hosted the 33rd Annual Saipan International Fishing Tournament. That means there are 33 years of data in the Division of Fish and Wildlife files.

While the Saipan International Fishing Tournament is the longest running fishing competition in the CNMI, there is data on many other competitions like the Mahi Derby and the Tinian Fishing Derby. Years of fishing with official tools of measurement make the sports fishing tournament catches some of the most plentiful information that the Division of Fish and Wildlife has (Ticheler, H.J., Kolding, J, Chanda, B.).

My main project as a CRI Intern at the Division of Fish and Wildlife was to gather data from past derbies and input it all into one digital database. Doing this allows people to easily compare catches from the derbies to other data giving us a bigger sample size. Doing this also resulted in a convenient place to input results of future derbies.

I did this project by first gathering tournament results then organizing the data using my work computer. I started by collecting derby data from the archives, the Marianas Visitors Authority booklets, and the Saipan Fisherman’s Association website. After arranging the information, I enter them into my computer, using Microsoft Excel, separated by year and derby type.

Now that the information is in a location that makes it easy to access and use it can be utilized for other projects. It can act as a reference for other derby based studies or as a way to check on the history of derbies in the CNMI. It will mainly be used as a historical record, allowing fishing enthusiasts to easily find results of past derbies. Interested individuals will be able to see winning fish from derbies that happened years ago. The single digital archive is much easier to access than the multiple paper folders.

Fishing derbies are a big part of the fishing culture in the CNMI. They bring fishers from different parts of the Mariana Islands together and allow us to observe how we affect fishing. By understanding how fishing derbies change we can help them improve.

Works cited:

Ticheler, H.J., Kolding, J, Chanda, B. (1998). Participation of local fishermen in scientific fisheries data collection: a case study from the Bangweulu Swamps, Zambia. Fisheries Management and Ecology, 5(1), 81-92. https//

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