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SENATE ACTS TO AVOID STRIPED BASS MORATORIUM
JCAA PRESS RELEASE
September 10, 2004
Contact Ed Cherry
[email protected]
609-597-9456
JCAA would like to thank Senate President Richard Codey for his quick action to avoid a Striped Bass moratorium. It is highly unusual for the NJ Senate to have an emergency voting session and Senator Bob Smith also deserves our thanks for working to make this happen. This action confirms that our Senators, both Democrats and Republicans, understand the significant economic impact of Striped Bass fishing. Striped Bass has always been a bipartisan issue. Recreational anglers throughout the state will be watching the Senate session on September 20th and are hopeful that Governor McGreevey will sign S1691 on the same day. JCAA has been working diligently with our legislators, NJ DEP and other interested parties to resolve these issues. Many of our members have been in contact with their legislators and the outdoor writers have been actively engaged in this discussion. Tom Fote, JCAA?s Legislative Chairman, is also the Governor?s Appointee to ASMFC and has been in constant contact with Federal and State legislators. In cooperation with NJ Fish and Wildlife, he has also been in contact with the National Marine Fisheries Service and the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

Ed Cherry, chairman of JCAA?s Striped Bass Committee, comments, ?Although JCAA supports different size limits than the ones in the current Senate bill, we recognize that it is crucial to avoid the moratorium. Passing the legislation that was already approved by the NJ Assembly is the only way to avoid a moratorium. .JCAA will continually monitor the impact of this legislation on recreational anglers and will, if necessary, propose changes in the legislation for the 2005 Striped Bass season.?

We have included the press release from NJ Senate Democrats and a Star Ledger Article.


News From NJ Senate Democrats
Released on: September 9 , 2004
For information, contact:
Jason Butkowski
Tel: (609) 292-5215
Fax: (609) 984-1235
E-Mail: [email protected]

SENATOR CODEY TO MOVE STRIPED BASS BILL TO FAST TRACK
Senate President Says Need to Protect Fishing Economy Merits Expediency
TRENTON - Senate President Richard J. Codey announced today that a bill to help the State avoid federal penalties for failure to comply with new striped bass fishing regulations will be brought for a Senate Committee hearing and a full Senate vote on September 20.

"As a State that relies heavily on the fishing industry, we realized that we had to work fast to move New Jersey into federal compliance with the new standards and keep our fisheries open," said Senator Codey, D-Essex. "Failure to do so would have put our State's commercial fishermen and related businesses at a severe economic disadvantage."

The bill, S-1691 (A-3007), would amend New Jersey's catch and possession standards for striped bass to comply with recent federal changes to the coastal striped bass management plan. The new size standards for striped bass fishing would require that fishermen can only take one fish which measures 24 to 28 inches long, and a second fish which is 34 inches or larger per day. Failure for the State to come into compliance with the federal standards could result in a Statewide moratorium on striped bass fishing beginning Sept. 20, the same day as the Senate hearings.

"If a moratorium were to take place in New Jersey on striped bass fishing, the economic fallout would be catastrophic," said Senator Codey, noting that estimates from State fishing advocates put the cost of a striper moratorium at up to $500,000 a day for businesses which depend on the striper industry.

Senator Codey said that he has authorized a special hearing on the bill for 9:30 a.m. on Sept. 20 in the Senate Environment Committee, and the bill will be considered during the Senate's quorum call at noon if it is approved by the Committee. Senator Codey added that members of the Senate Minority have agreed to post the necessary votes to consider the bill on emergency.
Senator Bob Smith, the Senate Environment Committee Chairman, said that he expects quick passage of the bill to avoid severe repercussions from a federal striped bass moratorium.

"This is not a partisan bill, but rather an opportunity for the Senate to come together in a bipartisan fashion and avoid serious economic sanctions of our State's fishermen," said Senator Smith, D-Middlesex and Somerset. "I think we can get this approved and signed into law on the September 20, so that threats of a striper moratorium are negated, and our State's fishing industry can get on with the catch."


Senate jumps in to avoid 'striper' ban
Upper house to meet early on threat of U.S. bass-fishing moratorium
Friday, September 10, 2004
BY ALEXANDER LANE
Star-Ledger Staff

State Senate leaders have decided to hold their first voting session two weeks early this fall to try to stave off a federal ban on striped-bass fishing in New Jersey, Senate President Richard Codey (D-Essex) said yesterday.

Both the environment committee and the full Senate will meet Sept. 20 specifically to vote on a bill that would bring New Jersey in line with regional striped-bass rules, thereby ducking a threatened federal moratorium during the famous fall "striper" run.

The environment committee had not planned to meet until Sept. 27, and the full Senate had not planned a voting session until Oct. 4.

The change in plans was a testament to the influence of the state's recreational fishermen. Organizations such as the Recreational Fishing Alliance and the Jersey Coast Anglers Association -- which some 25 years ago succeeded in having commercial striped-bass fishing banned entirely off the Jersey Shore -- had inundated state and federal politicians with pleas to find a way to keep the fishery open to anglers.

"As a state that relies heavily on the fishing industry, we realized that we had to work fast to move New Jersey into federal compliance with the new standards and keep our fisheries open," Codey said in a statement yesterday.

Passage of the bill (S1691) would bring New Jersey back into compliance with rules set by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, which governs saltwater fishing on the East Coast.

Anglers would be able to keep two striped bass per day -- one measuring between 24 and 28 inches and another at least 34 inches. Current rules allow anglers to keep one striped bass between 24 and 28 inches and another greater than 28 inches -- an arrangement that the fisheries commission deemed threatening to the striped bass population.

A moratorium would have cost charter captains, equipment retailers and other businesses some $500,000 a day, fishing advocates estimated. Then there would be the intangible cost to the thousands of fishermen who flock to the Shore for the fall stripers.

Anglers breathed a collective sigh of relief as word spread across docks, beaches and Internet forums that a moratorium was looking less likely.

"I don't want to miss anything right now," said Ed Riley, an Edison retiree who surf-casts off Sandy Hook. "Now is prime time for stripers."

Recreational fishing organizations have been lobbying state and federal politicians for weeks on the matter.

"We have a massive campaign going on right now," said Jim Donofrio, executive director of the Recreational Fishing Alliance, which claims 10,000 members in New Jersey. "We worked the committee members very hard."

New Jersey's deadline to update its rules is Sept. 20, and even if the bill were to pass on that day, it would still take another day or two for Gov. James E. McGreevey to sign it. But fishing advocates said they expected the Bush administration to let the matter go a couple of days without immediately imposing a moratorium.

Elected officials, including both Republican and Democratic members of the state's congressional delegation, had joined the call to keep the fishery open, advocates said.

Alexander Lane covers the environment. He can be reached at [email protected] or (973) 392-1790.
 
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