Palau President Tommy Remengesau Jr., who launched the Micronesia Challenge recently signed new legislation known as the Protected Areas Network (PAN) to further Palau's efforts to preserve her pristine environment for the generations to come. The PAN legislation has been the subject of long-running debate and difference between some of Palau's 16 States and the national government. Funding for support of the Protected Areas Network will reportdely come from a $30 fee to be paid by visitors arriving in this tiny island nation. It is not clear at this writing exactly how fees will be collected but early reports suggest that the fee will be included in the cost of airline tickets. Palau gets approximately 80,000 visitors per year most of whom are scuba divers creating an estimated $2.4 million in revenue in support of this program. Many states in Palau also charge environmental fees including Koror State ($35) and Peleliu ($20) which get the largest share of divers. An additional departure tax of $20 per person also applies to visitors.
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On another environmental issue, Palau also recently passed legislation banning the export of live reef fish in order to help protect its' Northern Reefs which are reported to have been under pressure from companies involved in the live reef fish trade, exporting to Asian markets.
The President reportedly expressed concern that insatiable markets in other countries would lead to the eventual destruction of Palau's reef habitats.
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