Anglers Beware

by Paul E. Turi

(from Jersey Coast Anglers Association June 2003 Newsletter)

Our “friends” at Clean Ocean Action are proposing to create a Marine Protected Area for the NY/NJ Bight.   For those of you not familiar with the location of the NY/NJ Bight, it consists of the waters from Montauk Point, N.Y to Cape May, N.J. and offshore to the outer edge of the Continental Shelf; over 19,000 square miles of the Atlantic Ocean.   In short, the entire coast of N.J. out to about 75 miles.  Yes, every square mile of ocean that you and I fish off our coast. 

Cindy Zipf and Clean Ocean Action, and their friends at the American Littoral Society, want to make this a Marine Protected Area, which on its face is laudable.  Making the Bight an MPA would prohibit ocean dumping, prohibit the permanent extraction of non-renewable resources, including sand and gravel mining in federal waters, prohibit oil and gas exploration and development, ensure that the siting of offshore commercial or industrial infrastructure is environmentally protective and will not threaten or disrupt the ecology or aesthetics of the area, prohibit the designation of any new ocean dump sites, stem the toxic tide of pollution from stormwater, sediments and wastewater discharge, and allow underwater research and exploration.  

Cindy Zipf and Clean Ocean Action also say they will make an exception for fishermen and will support federal and state approved recreational and commercial fisheries in this area.  Well, isn’t that just terrific, Cindy Zipf is looking out for recreational anglers. 

Clean Ocean Action has asked for the JCAA to support legislation that would make the Bight an MPA.  Can we trust Cindy Zipf and COA and, for that matter, the American Littoral Society?  If history has taught us anything it is that we cannot and should not trust our former partners.  We were burned by Cindy and company on the subway cars and now they want our support on this proposal.  I think not.  If and when this should come to a vote by JCAA member clubs, I, as a voting member of the Board of Directors of JCAA, and as a voting member of a member club, will not support anything Cindy Zipf and Clean Ocean Action and their partners at the American Littoral Society support under the guise of a “benefit to anglers.”  I don’t trust her and her partners and would urge JCAA members to be careful in their trust.  Trust has to be earned, not just given.  We’ve seen what COA and ALS are capable of doing to get their way.

There will be much discussion and debate I’m sure over this proposal at JCAA in the weeks and months ahead.  Be prepared, be alert and, most of all, be wary of anything Cindy Zipf and COA promises you.  Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice, shame on me.

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