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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
The Coastal Ocean Protection Council, what can be accomplished.

First and foremost, this thread is for discussion and debate on the law. That being said, I will begin by posting the law for all to see in two parts, it's a long one (I will edit the portions that do not deal with the marine environment):


CHAPTER 288



An Act concerning coastal and ocean resources, amending and supplementing Title 13 of the Revised Statutes, and making an appropriation.


Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

C.13:19-34 Findings, declarations relative to coastal, ocean resources.
1. The Legislature finds and declares that:
a. The quality of life and strength of the economy in New Jersey are challenged by persistent threats to the health and vitality of one of the State’s most cherished and fragile assets, its ocean resources;
b. Coastal tourism is extremely important to the State economy, generating billions of dollars annually and providing thousands of jobs throughout the region;
c. Good water quality, healthy beaches, and abundant recreational opportunities are essential to attracting visitors and sustaining coastal tourism;
d. Despite regulatory efforts by the State to date, New Jersey residents continue to face beach closings, seafood health advisories, and prohibitions on shellfishing in some areas due to pollution;
e. Reports such as the 2003 Pew Oceans Commission Report, entitled “America’s Living Oceans: Charting a Course for Sea Change,” and the 2004 Report of the United States Commission on Ocean Policy, both document degraded ocean values, due to coastal and ocean development, onshore and offshore pollution, certain fishing and aquaculture practices, and invasive species, among other things;
f. The ocean is a public trust and in order to ensure the protection of the public trust, the governance of these ocean resources should be guided by principles of sustainability, ecosystem health, precaution, recognition of the interconnectedness between land and ocean, and public participation in the decision-making process;
g. The Pew Oceans Commission and the United States Commission on Ocean Policy both recommend that government agencies move toward an ecosystem-based management approach and should be required to protect, maintain, and restore coastal and ocean ecosystems;
h. Good governance and stewardship of coastal and ocean resources necessitate more efficient and effective use of public funds; and
i. Since many different State and local agencies are responsible for governing or protecting New Jersey’s coastal and ocean resources, there is a critical need for these agencies to work together in a coordinated manner to ensure effective, comprehensive, and consistent protection of coastal and ocean resources and ecosystems.

C.13:19-35 “Ecosystem-based management” defined.
2. As used in this act, “ecosystem-based management” means an integrated approach to management that integrates biological, social, and economic factors into a comprehensive strategy aimed at protecting, restoring, and enhancing the sustainability, diversity, and productivity of ecosystems.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Part 2

C.13:19-36 New Jersey Coastal and Ocean Protection Council established.
3. a. There is established in the Department of Environmental Protection the New Jersey Coastal and Ocean Protection Council.
b. The council shall consist of nine members as follows:
(1) the Commissioner of Environmental Protection, or the commissioner’s designee, who shall serve ex officio;
(2) the Chief Executive Officer of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, or the chief executive officer’s designee, who shall serve ex officio;
(3) the Executive Director of the Division of Travel and Tourism in the New Jersey Commerce Commission, or the executive director’s designee, who shall serve ex officio; and
(4) six public members to be appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of the Senate for four-year terms, except that of those first appointed, one shall be appointed for a term of one year, one for a term of two years, two for a term of three years and two for a term of four years. Of the public members: one shall be a representative of the commercial fishing industry, representing the range of commercial fisheries in the State, including shellfish and finfish fisheries and fisheries in State and federal waters; one shall be a representative of the recreational fishing industry, representing the range of recreational fisheries in the State, including the hook and line and the party and charter boat fishing industry; one shall be a representative of the academic community with expertise, knowledge, or experience in coastal or ocean ecosystems and habitat; one shall be a representative of an environmental organization with expertise, knowledge, or experience in coastal or ocean ecosystems and habitat; one shall be a representative of a public interest group with expertise, knowledge, or experience in coastal or ocean ecosystems and habitat; and one shall be a representative of a non-profit organization with expertise, knowledge, or experience in habitat protection and land preservation.
c. Any vacancy in the membership shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointment.
d. The members of the council shall serve without compensation, but may be reimbursed for necessary expenses incurred in the performance of their duties, within the limits of funds appropriated or otherwise made available to the council for its purposes.
e. The council shall be entitled to the assistance and service of the employees of any State, county or municipal department, board, bureau, commission, authority, or agency as it may require and as may be available to it for its purposes, and to employ stenographic and clerical assistance and to incur traveling or other miscellaneous expenses as may be necessary in order to perform its duties, within the limits of funds appropriated or otherwise made available to it for its purposes. The department shall provide primary staff support to the council.
f. The council shall organize as soon as possible after the appointment of its members and shall annually elect a chairperson from among its members, and a secretary who need not be a member of the council. The council shall meet at the call of the chairperson or the Commissioner of Environmental Protection or when requested by any four members of the council.
g. A majority of the membership of the council shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of council business.
h. The members of the council shall be subject to the “New Jersey Conflicts of Interest Law,” P.L.1971, c.182 (C.52:13D-12 et seq.).
i. The council shall be subject to the provisions of the “Senator Byron M. Baer Open Public Meetings Act,” P.L.1975, c.231 (C.10:4-6 et seq.).
j. A true copy of the minutes of every meeting of the council shall be prepared and made available to the public. The minutes shall also be made available on the department’s Internet website.

C.13:19-37 Powers, duties, responsibilities of council.
4. a. The council shall have the following powers, duties, and responsibilities:
(1) to request from the commissioner any information concerning ecosystem-based management as it may deem necessary;
(2) to consider any matter relating to the protection, maintenance, and restoration of coastal and ocean resources;
(3) to submit, from time to time, to the commissioner any recommendations which the council deems necessary that will protect, maintain and restore coastal and ocean resources;
(4) to study ecosystem-based management approaches;
(5) to study any policies, plans, and rules and regulations adopted by the department that impact coastal and ocean resources;
(6) to study and investigate coastal and habitat protection;
(7) to coordinate and develop plans for a research agenda on ecosystem-based management;
(8) to consider data and any other relevant information on the overall health of New Jersey’s coastal and ocean resources in order to document how the State is meeting the goal of protecting, maintaining and restoring healthy coastal and ocean ecosystems; and
(9) to hold public hearings at least once a year to take testimony from the public concerning ecosystem-based management approaches.
b. The council shall present a report of its activities, findings, and recommendations to the commissioner within one year after its organizational meeting, and biennially thereafter. Copies of the report shall also be submitted to the Governor and, pursuant to section 2 of P.L.1991, c.164 (C.52:14-19.1), to the Legislature.

5. There is appropriated from the General Fund to the Department of Environmental Protection the sum of $75,000 for the purposes of the council as set forth pursuant to this act.
(Snip)

7. This act shall take effect immediately.

Approved January 13, 2008.
 

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Diver, a good topic. I look forward to the discussion.
Since "the Devil is in the details...." would you be willing/able to provide a link to the complete Bill for interested parties to digest?

Thanks,

Pat
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Most importantly to start, we must nominate people for the "public members to be appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of the Senate ". Not just the recreational fisherman's position. We need to nominate qualified people to other positions as well.
 

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I have a few concerns with the proposed council:

1. Appointed by the Governor.
No way around it, but there will exist the possibility (probability?) of cronyism. He who contributes the most gets the spot. (Looking at history and $$$, Enviro's get a leg up here.)

2. The structure/term limits of the "first seating."
My prediction is the shortest initial terms will go to the appointees most in line with true rec/commercial fishing interests, and the longest to those appointees from enviro groups. Replacements for the "short-timers" will be weaker incarnations, and will be coerced into stances by the "more tenured" council members.

I'll admit I have a natural distrust of polititians (especially in NJ.) I would prefer to see the council spots filled by a nomination and referendum process... perhaps from internal balloting of concerned recognized groups.
I know, no process is perfect, but I see this Council getting twisted in rapid fashion if there is no oversight or accountability/transparency to the public.

I'll take my tinfoil hat off now... :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
This from a public hearing earlier this year:


SENATOR SMITH:​


Three quick suggestions, if I might:
Senator Karcher’s coastal commission bill passed.​


MR. DILLINGHAM:​

Yes, sir.​


SENATOR SMITH:​

And that will be a group that will be advising the State about ecosystem-based management of the shoreline -- the coast and the ocean. It will be great for the Littoral Society to write a letter to the Governor and ask for some representation on that commission. I think they’d have a lot to contribute.​
 

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And that will be a group that will be advising the State about ecosystem-based management of the shoreline -- the coast and the ocean. It will be great for the Littoral Society to write a letter to the Governor and ask for some representation on that commission. I think they’d have a lot to contribute.​
I was wondering, what EXACTLY is Ecosystem Based Management? Sounds good, but is it quantifiable? Does the science have multi-species population models? Do we know how much of what forage species does a particular stock of fish need to survive?

I'm not suggesting that ecosystem based management is not a good idea, just the opposite, it is very important. What I am saying that in my opinion it is still in the "buzz-word" stage. Ecosystem based management is in it's infancy. We have a lot of work ahead of us before we can truly make good sound decisions.

The eco-terrorists tout ecosystem management and at the same time push for us to manage all of the fish stocks to attain maximum biomass at the same time and stay at that level. In my mind the key term to a healthy ecosystem is balance or equalibrium. Populations rarely stay at the same level constantly. The only thing constant is change!

Just a few things to think about.
 

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I have a few concerns with the proposed council:

1. Appointed by the Governor.
No way around it, but there will exist the possibility (probability?) of cronyism. He who contributes the most gets the spot. (Looking at history and $$$, Enviro's get a leg up here.)

2. The structure/term limits of the "first seating."
My prediction is the shortest initial terms will go to the appointees most in line with true rec/commercial fishing interests, and the longest to those appointees from enviro groups. Replacements for the "short-timers" will be weaker incarnations, and will be coerced into stances by the "more tenured" council members.

I'll admit I have a natural distrust of polititians (especially in NJ.) I would prefer to see the council spots filled by a nomination and referendum process... perhaps from internal balloting of concerned recognized groups.
I know, no process is perfect, but I see this Council getting twisted in rapid fashion if there is no oversight or accountability/transparency to the public.

I'll take my tinfoil hat off now... :)
DITTO......

In this culture of corruption known as the State of New Jersey, a commission like this will be a total joke. Political appointees, cronyism, pay back favors....and once slick Jonny Corzine and the democratic power brokers fill all the spots with their asshole buddies, the next thing that they'll slip in under the rug will be paying these people a salary with state benefits included....at our expense......:rolleyes:
It will accomplish nothing but designing more feel good legislation to appease the enviro extremists that bark the loudest, and contribute the most to the state democratic party....

I predict nothing good will come of this only because this is New Jersey, be it any other state this might fly in a straight line, but not in this state. Putem OnIce called it right, and I agree with his point of view on the subject......
 
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