A man swims with stingless golden jellyfish in Palau’s famous Jellyfish Lake. (Photo by Richard Brooks/Lightning Strike Production)
A public hearing will soon be conducted for the proposed Koror State legislation pushing for the increase of permit fees for Rock Island Use from $50 to $100 valid only for four days and for the Jellyfish Lake from $100 to $150 but with only one-day validity.
There is no final schedule for the public hearing yet.
The bill, labeled Legislature Bill No. 11-11, LD1, was introduced by Koror State Legislator Kyonori Tellames to amend Section 9 of KSPL No. K8-207-2009. It is currently being reviewed by the Committee of Ways and Means.
Currently, a 100-dollar permit for the Jellyfish Lake is valid for 10 days but under the new proposition, a 50-dollar increase is suggested but valid only for a shorter period.
Aside from the proposed increase of permit fees, the bill also redefines the authority given to the Koror State Governor to provide fee exemption for special cases involving official guests and persons engaged in scientific, educational, and environmental activities and to locals accompanying individuals for these particular activities. Instead of full fee exemption, the bill seeks to limit this power by imposing discounts instead.
The bill cited the need to increase the revenue collections for the famous sites to be able to support researchers in continuing the monitoring of the lake.
Palau’s famous jellyfish lake had just recently seen a boom of the golden jellyfish population following the drastic decline of its population in 2016.
If the bill becomes a law, the proposed fees will be imposed on all visitors with at least six years of age.
According to the bill, a 100% discount will be given to students visiting the country for an official school function, missionaries ministering in Palau as part of an organized and recognized religious organization, Koror State’s official guests and youth programs by recognized youth groups where 85% of the total number of permits are for those under 18 years old.
A 50% discount will also be given for educational, environmental or scientific research activities pursuant to an agreement with the Koror State government and a 25% discount will be given to official guests of the national and state governments and Non-Government Organizations/Civil Society Organizations. (Rhealyn C. Pojas)