The Department of Lands and Natural Resources is now authorized to impose and collect management fees and regulate activities in conservation areas.
Gov. Ralph DLG Torres signed Rep. Alice Igitol’s (R-Saipan) House Bill 20-69 last week. The new law authorizes the DLNR, through its Division of Fish and Wildlife, to regulate marine sports and activities within conservation areas and sanctuaries as well as impose and collect conservation area management fees.
Now known as Public Law 20-44, the DLNR secretary is given the authority to manage marine conservation areas and sanctuaries—with the day-to-day administration and management of the areas and sanctuaries assigned to the Division of Fish and Wildlife.
The law authorizes the division to issue permits and impose and collect marine conservation area fees, among others.
The fee would be deposited into the Conservation Area Management Revolving Fund.
Fees collected shall be deposited into the Conservation Area Management Revolving Fund, except for fees collected on Rota and Tinian and Aguiguan. Fifteen percent of the total revenue collected would each go toward the Rota and Tinian and Aguiguan revolving fund every fiscal year, while the remaining 70 percent goes to the Saipan fund.
These funds would be used for enforcement, conservation, or research activities related to marine protected areas management; purchase of equipment such as vehicles, boats, microscopes, etc. related to marine protected areas management; purchase of office supplies and operation supplies for the enforcement, conservation, or research on marine protected areas management; capacity building and training for enforcement, conservation, or research on the area; and more.
The division is mandated to keep a daily record of the activities relevant to the operation and management of the conservation areas.
A fine of at least $500, but not more than $10,000 is imposed on violators.