Guam’s Marine Preserves
“ The Guam Legislature finds Guam’s fisheries are a fragile and irreplaceable resource and
that the cultural identity and social fabric of the people of Guam are dependent upon
sustained traditional use and a healthy natural fishery. Recent information has shown the
near shore fishery is declining. The Guam Legislature has determined that measures must
be taken to preserve local traditions and to protect the natural resource, which is so valuable
to both the community and the economy.” – Public Law 24-21  (1997)
Legislature approved the creation of a system of five marine
preserves through Public Law 24-21.   These preserves were
implemented in 2001.  They are:  Tumon Bay Marine Preserve,
Piti Bomb Holes Marine Preserve, Sasa Bay Marine Preserve,
Achang Reef Flat Marine Preserve, and Pati Point Marine
Preserve.

Marine Preserves are a traditional management practice also
known as a bul in Palau, or a tabu in Polynesia. It is a simple, yet
effective way to manage coral reef fisheries resources and has
been used with great success throughout the Pacific Islands.  In
many areas they are established and managed by individual
communities, but with our large population and centralized
government, they are managed by the Division of Aquatics and
Wildlife Resources of the Guam Department of Agriculture.
These areas of restricted harvest allow reef fish to grow to larger sizes and thus produce more offspring for
neighboring areas.  For example, a 10 inch sakmoneti (goatfish) produces a hundred times more eggs
than a 5 inch one.   As the fish in the preserve grow they will produce more and more eggs for the rest of
Guam’s reefs.  That means more fish for everyone! In fact, this process has already started and catch rates
outside of the preserves have started to rise (see graph below).
DAWR’s marine preserve surveys indicate that the preserves are working as expected.  The fish stocks in
the preserves have increased to up to 10 times more than before the preserves were implemented and
even the sites outside of the preserve have shown increases over the last 7 years.   This provides great
hope for the future of Guam’s fisheries….but we still have a long way to go to restore our fish stocks and
reefs.

The lifecycle of many of our favorite fish are long and complex.  It is important to maintain our existing
marine preserves as they are in order to ensure that these fish, such as Tangison (humphead wrasse),
Atuhong (bumphead parrotfish), Gadao (grouper), Laggua (parrotfish) and other species have the ability to
reproduce.  If we open the preserves or switch to rotational preserves, these species will not be
adequately protected and we may lose them forever.
Fishing is an important part of Guam’s history and culture, part of our heritage.  It is important that we keep
our fish stocks healthy, so future generations can continue to practice the traditional fishing methods that
are so important to our culture.  To do this we need to keep the Marine Preserves strong.  We also need to
be responsible in our fishing practices:  

Respect the Marine Preserves – fish in these areas replenish the rest of our
island.  

Follow the other fishing regulations – these laws support healthy fish stocks.

Take only what you need – eat it fresh or set it free.

Get Involved – contact the local resource agencies to find out about opportunities to
assist in monitoring, outreach, and management.
Additional Resources:

P.L. 24-21  AN ACT TO ESTABLISH RULES AND REGULATIONS FOR THE CONTROL OF FISHERIES BY
THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE.

P.L. 27-87   AN ACT TO CREATE A MARINE PRESERVES ECO-PERMITTING SYSTEM, TO BE
ADMINISTERED BY THE DIVISION OF AQUATIC AND WILDLIFE RESOURCES OF THE DEPARTMENT OF
AGRICULTURE

P.L. 28-107    AN ACT RELATIVE TO ADDING NEW DEFINITIONS TO SECTION 63101 OF CHAPTER 63,
DIVISION 6 OF TITLE 5 GUAM CODE ANNOTATED; TO ADD NEW SUBSECTIONS 63116.1 AND 63116.2
TO SECTION 63116 CHAPTER 63, DIVISION 6 OF TITLE 5 GUAM CODE ANNOTATED; AND TO ADD A
NEW SECTION 63132 TO TITLE 5 GUAM CODE ANNOTATED TO EXPAND THE PROTECTION OF GUAM’S
MARINE RESOURCES.

Guam Department of Agriculture
Marine Preserve Website

Guam Department of Agriculture Marine Preserve Brochure

Guam Department of Agriculture Fishing Regulations Handbook
Guam's Marine Preserves
Preserving our Heritage
Protecting our Future

Guam Department of Agriculture
Division of Aquatic and Wildlife Resources
163 Dairy Road * Mangilao, GU 96913
Phone: 671.735.3955   Fax: 671.734.6570
http://www.guamdawr.org
(c) 2009 Guam Department of Agriculture.  All Rights Reserved.



LAC Objectives

1.) BALANCE the need
for recreation / tourism
with protection of social
and environmental
values in the marine
preserves.

2.)
CONTROL CHANGE
and impacts of activities.

3.) Determine the
ACTIONS required to
maintain desired
resource and social
conditions.


Quick Links

LAC Resources

Marine Preserve
Resources

Tumon Bay Meetings

Piti Bomb Hole Meetings

FAQ's

Request  Information
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