NORTHERN MARIANAS LOOKS TO PALAU FOR REEF PROTECTION LAWS

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By Jojo Dass

SAIPAN, Northern Mariana Islands (July 5, 2000 - Marianas Variety/PINA Nius Online)---Saipan Representative Dino M. Jones is working on a comprehensive reef protection law patterned after that in the Republic of Palau.

In an interview with reporters, Jones said the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands (CNMI) "still does not have enough laws dealing with the present-day realities of the islands.

"Our laws deal with the past, but the past has changed," Jones said.

Jones, a Democrat, said the CNMI has "insufficient and inappropriate policies" governing fishing and the protection of marine life.

"There is definite need to protect our sea resources," he said.

Jones said the measure will be patterned after similar policies in Palau because Palau is is "known to have the best law" in reef protection in Micronesia, "if not the entire Pacific.

"I have obtained copies of such laws and regulations to develop a comprehensive reef protection law and regulations here in the CNMI," Jones said.

Jones said he is working with House legal counsel Steve McKenzie on crafting draft legislation.

Jones indicated the proposed measure may not be popular. But he added that Palau's marine law was also unpopular at that island-state's legislature because of its anti-development nature.

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: http://www.pinanius.org 

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