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Striper fishing in jeopardy on August 1

Thursday, July 01, 2004

Thanks to the lack of action taken by the New Jersey Senate, striped bass fisherman could be in a pack of trouble come August 1. The Atlantic States Marina Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) declared that New Jersey must pass striped bass laws that agree with their program or be out of compliance by August 1. This has not been done.

In talking yesterday with Assemblyman Robert Smith (D-4) I learned why not.


"I would like to give you a history of the bill I introduced," said Smith. "In response to the overwhelming sentiment expressed by those at the three striped bass meetings recently, I introduced a bill that would be in compliance with the needs of the ASMFC. It allowed for one fish between 24 and 28 inches and another over 34 inches. It went through the committee I chair by a five-to-zero vote. It then went to the Assembly where they too passed it.

"When it reached the Senate, the Senate president refused to post it as it was not sent through the proper committee. In the past, bills have been passed this way, but he would not allow it. As we are now adjourned for the summer and will not return until sometime in September, it cannot be acted upon until that time."

Just what does this mean for New Jersey striper fishermen? Will it mean that the ASMFC will shut down the striper fishing as of August 1? Will they come down on us with more restrictive laws as to size and bag limits in 2005? We will have to wait and see.


"I am going to see the ASMFC and try and tell them that time did not allow us to get this bill through and that we worked in good faith to get into compliance," Smith said. "Hopefully this will do some good."

Meanwhile, striper fishermen will be able to use the existing laws until Aug. 1, at least. That is, one striper between 24 and 28 inches and another 28 inches or over.

The bonus fish is still in effect as well, but keep in mind that this is good in New Jersey waters only. Striper anglers fishing in out-of-state waters, such as Blake's Channel on the Delaware side of the Delaware Bay cannot use this bonus tag there.


It seems as almost every week we must announce some meeting that must be attended, or some writing or phoning activity that is necessary in order to protect the hunting and fishing here in New Jersey. This week it is a double-header.

The ASMFC and the N.J. Division of Fish and Wildlife are hosting a public meeting regarding proposed modifications in the summer flounder, scup and black sea bass management plans. It is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 8, at the Atlantic County Library, 306 Jimmie Leeds Road, Absecon, Galloway Township. Similar meetings will be held in Delaware, Maryland, New York, Rhode Island and Virginia.

The same hosts will have a public meeting at 7 p.m. on Thursday, July 15, at the Goodwill Hose Company Station, 610 7th Avenue, in Belmar, Monmouth County. The subject will be the interstate management plan for inshore stocks of winter flounder. A like meeting will be scheduled for the same states as above.


Fishermen utilizing the long Fourth of July Weekend will find things exciting in many cases. Unfortunately, weakfish are just about transparent throughout the states, notably in Delaware Bay. Some small ones can be had, but most do not even reach the minuscule 13-inch minimum size.

However, fluke news is encouraging. Delaware Bay flukers are seeing lots of throwbacks but some real doormats as well. Most marinas have reported huge individual fish, with many in the five-to-six pound class. The party and charter boats are honing in on fluke and, when a good drift comes along are doing much better over last weekend and ever since.

A few decent croakers are showing, with some up to 17 inches reported. Small bluefish are plentiful and they turn out to be the best eating size of the whole bluefish clan. Kingfish are abundant in the undertow, especially in the Strathmere/Whale Beach area. Bloodworms on a small hook do the trick.

Hopefully good weather will abound, and if so fishermen, both fresh and saltwater, can expect a good three days of action.

Ralph Knisell is the outdoors writer for Today's Sunbeam. His column appears on Thursday.
 

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"When it reached the Senate, the Senate president refused to post it as it was not sent through the proper committee. In the past, bills have been passed this way, but he would not allow it. As we are now adjourned for the summer and will not return until sometime in September, it cannot be acted upon until that time."

So what does this really mean for us????? Where are you Krayfish or CaptTB? I hope the ASMFC will not come down on us for being out of compliance.
 
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