Bill authorizing Fish and Wildlife to impose fees now law

A MEASURE to allow the Division of Fish and Wildlife to regulate marine-sports activities and impose fees for conservation efforts was signed into law by Gov. Ralph Torres.

House Bill 20-69, which is now Public Law 20-44, was introduced by Reps. Alice Igitol, Frank Aguon, Donald Barcinas, Joseph Deleon Guerrero, Ivan Blanco, Edwin Aldan, Greg Sablan Jr., John Paul Sablan, Edwin Propst, Vinnie Sablan, Vice Speaker Janet Maratita and House Floor Leader Glenn Maratita.

The law states that there continues to be a need to protect, conserve, manage and control conservation areas and sanctuaries such as Managaha, Bird Island and Forbidden Island for the use and enjoyment of generations to come.

It further states that certain limited activities may now be permitted in marine-conservation areas and sanctuaries for the pleasure and enjoyment of the people of the commonwealth and visitors.

The law gives the Division of Fish and Wildlife the flexibility to determine when to permit certain marine sports or activities in conservation areas and sanctuaries. But the division must also do its due diligence to monitor and maintain those areas, and this effort requires more funding and more personnel, the new law states.

It added that the division is authorized to issue permits, impose and collect fees established by regulation for use or activity within the waters or submerged lands of any marine conservation area including but not limited to the Managaha conservation area, the Bird Island and Forbidden Island sanctuaries and all established conservation and sanctuary areas of Rota and Tinian.

The fees collected will be deposited into revolving-fund accounts: 15 percent of the total funds collected each fiscal year will go to the Rota Conservation Area Management Revolving Fund; 15 percent to the Tinian Conservation Area Revolving Fund; and 70 percent to the Saipan Conservation Area Revolving Fund.

Source: Marianas Variety :

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