JCAA Votes No to Selling Striped Bass in NJ

by John Toth
(from Jersey Coast Anglers Association March 2018 Newsletter)

In JCAA’s February newsletter, I wrote an article “Proposal to Sell Farm-Raised Striped Bass in New Jersey” that summarized our September 6th meeting with Prime Time Seafood/Pacifico, the company that wants to sell farm-raised striped bass in NJ. My summary of this meeting was then followed by a letter from Pacifco as to why they should be allowed to sell their bass here and wanted a JCAA response to their proposal.

The decision on this proposal is not made by me, but can only come from JCAA member clubs. I placed this issue on the agenda of our January 30th General Membership meeting for their consideration and vote. After considerable discussion and weighing the pros and cons of this proposal, our membership voted NO to this company’s proposal to sell their striped bass in New Jersey. The letter (on JCAA letterhead) that explains our position on this matter to Pacifico follows:

Mr. Mike Aldonas,

The following is the Jersey Coast Angler’s Association (JCAA) response to your request for your proposal to sell farm-raised striped bass in New Jersey. The JCAA is an association of fishing clubs and at our club membership meeting held on Jan. 30, 2018, your proposal to the selling of striped bass in NJ was on our agenda for discussion. You are correct in that there are a number of benefits to the selling of your striped bass and they are: making striped bass more available in stores, restaurants and these fish are very healthy for human consumption. We recognize these benefits and others that you indicate in your proposal to us.

However, our big concern is that illegally caught striped bass would be sold as farm-raised under your Pacifico brand. As pointed out to you at our September 6th meeting, the tags that you place in your fish to brand them as Pacifico property can find their way to anglers who will catch local stripers and then pass them off as a Pacifico striped bass. What is to prevent a fish purveyor from selling/giving these tags to local anglers and then selling the striped bass they catch as a Pacifico product? This is a major issue that we brought to your attention at our September 6th meeting and it still remains unresolved. Even if the tags are supposed to be punched at the time of sale, who would monitor this? The economic benefits to pass off locally caught striped bass as belonging to Pacifico can be very tempting for the fishing industries that would sell your striped bass, and the local anglers who could generate hefty income from catching them.

The benefits and the drawbacks to your selling farm-raised striped bass in New Jersey was discussed and voted on by JCAA member clubs at our September 30 meeting. After considerable discussion, the JCAA clubs voted against your proposal to sell Pacifico striped bass in New Jersey.

Through the 1970’s, our striped bass population was decimated and the JCAA along with other organizations succeeded with our legislators in making striped bass a no-sale Game Fish. While we all agreed that you run a very legitimate business, our members are very passionate about striper fishing. We proceed with caution to ensure the safety and viability of this popular fishery.

Sincerely, Mark Taylor, President CC: Scot Mackey
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