President's Report

by Mark Taylor
(from Jersey Coast Anglers Association November 2018 Newsletter)

In a recent newsletter I put out there that we as a community must get more involved to have a voice for something we all love doing. There are constant attacks on the recreational fishing community. You as a recreational user must stay alert and not rely on someone else doing all the work. The larger the numbers of people that are united on an issue and get involved with the issues, the more that policymakers will hear us.

JCAA has been trying to build an email alert system for things like this. If you want to get the most current issue alerts, send me your email address to mtsport64@aol.com and state that you would like to be added to the Alert System. Your email will be used only for this system and nothing else. We also have been putting things up on our Facebook page. If you didn’t know about it, check it out and follow it.

As I mentioned in a past newsletter, there is a topic about Wind Mill Farms showing up off of our coast. Right now the only wind mill pilot project is off the eastern coast by Block Island. There are others that are being looked at every day. In order to try to protect prime and historic fishing grounds, we need to stay aware of the movement of these projects. I attended a very informative meeting on October 18th, which was put together by Anglers for Offshore Wind. The two speakers were Capt. Dave Monti, who is a Rhode Island charter captain, who fishes the Block Island Wind Mill Farm and Zach Cochrum, who is an avid angler and Director of Conservation Partnerships for the National Wildlife Federation. We will talk about this at our next JCAA Meeting on October 30th at 8:00pm, so send your club representative.

The open NJ Marine Fisheries Council position is important and was talked about at the JCAA September 25th meeting. As per the discussion of the clubs at that meeting, a letter was put together for a candidate and a copy will be handed out to club reps that attend, so make sure your representative shows up to bring the current information back to your club.

Remember, JCAA Sportsperson of the Year Dinner is coming up fast. Talk to your club about getting a table at this great event which will be held on November 11th at Crystal Pt. Yacht Club in Pt. Pleasant. If the club purchases a table for 10 it is only $650 which is a savings for the clubs who get a table. The individual ticket price is $80 this year. Please contact Co-Chairman Dan Miller for your tickets at 609-641-7821 or blueangray@comcast.net. You need to contact him because time is running out to get a seat at this fabulous event honoring this year’s award winners.

We also have our annual 50/50 Raffle starting. Chairman Don Marantz will be handling the tickets this year so come to the next meeting on October 30th and pick them up. You can also contact him at 908-347-1434 or the JCAA Office 732-506-6565 and leave a message.

It is not too early to think about helping JCAA at the upcoming shows. We will have a booth at upcoming shows and we will be looking for volunteers, so please contact me at mtsport64@aol.com and in the subject area put "Show Volunteer." Our presence at the shows is important to inform the general public that is part of the recreational community that has no idea what is going on.

If you would like me to speak at your club, please send an email to mtsport64@aol.com and in the subject put “Speak at Club.”

Next JCAA General Meeting is October 30th at 385 Herbertsville Road, Brick NJ, 08724. Remember, JCAA is always here for you, but we need more people to get involved.

Below is a letter I sent to the Office of Sustainable Fisheries concerning proposed changes to the EEZ:

Division Chief Kelly Denit Office of Sustainable Fisheries 1315 East-West Highway SSMC3 Silver Spring, MD 20910 Subject: “NOAA-NMFS-2018-0106”
Dear Chief Denit,

The Jersey Coast Anglers Association (JCAA) appreciates this opportunity to comment on the proposed rule that would open a portion of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), more specifically the Block Island Transit Zone (BITZ), to striped bass fishing. The JCAA represents approximately 75 fishing clubs throughout our state. Many of our clubs’ individual members enjoy fishing for stripers. This includes all types of striper fishermen, ranging from those who like to keep all the fish they can legally take for consumption to those who prefer to release every striped bass they catch. Many of these anglers are very passionate about their sport. When it comes to regulations pertaining to striped bass, if you put ten striper fishermen in a room you might have ten different opinions as to how they should be managed. However, one thing they all agree on is that they want a healthy striped bass fishery with good representation from various year classes.

The JCAA has always fought hard to protect the stocks of striped bass, especially when the stocks of this fishery were decimated during the 1970's and early 1980's. Back then, we were the driving force that pushed through legislation that prohibited striped bass from being commercially caught or sold in our state. This designation helped the coastal stocks of striped bass to recover significantly. We realized back then as we do now that having a viable recreational striped bass fishery is of extreme economic value to our state. In recent years, the spawning stock biomass (SSB) of striped bass has been declining. The quality of striped bass fishing along our coast, particularly for those fishing from shore, has declined significantly. Since many of the stripers that are caught in states to our north are the same ones that migrate through New Jersey, we certainly don’t want to see regulations that would allow stripers to be harvested in any portion of the EEZ. In 2015, both commercial and recreational anglers were forced by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) to reduce their harvest by 25%. Therefore, it does not make sense that while the ASMFC is trying to keep the stocks of striped bass healthy, a portion of the EEZ would be opened to allow more striped bass to be harvested.

We fear that opening a portion of the EEZ to striper fishing could be the equivalent of opening Pandora’s box. We understand that the current proposed rule would open the BITZ only to recreational fishermen. However, if that were to happen the next proposal might be to open it to commercial fishing as well. Further, we understand that this proposal is being considered because it is in a “unique area.” Well, there are other “unique areas” along the east coast as well. We fear that other states might request “unique areas” near them be opened too. The next thing you know, there might be a proposal to open the EEZ in its entirety to striped bass fishing. We are adamantly opposed to that!

Stripers often winter over and are concentrated in the EEZ particularly off the coast of North Carolina and Virginia. They are very vulnerable at that time and would be decimated if the fishing there was reopened. The EEZ is a sanctuary for striped bass to help ensure that the stocks attain and remain at healthy levels. Further, the BITZ already allows for the transportation of stripers through the EEZ. We are not enthralled with that rule either as we understand that this has led to quite a few poachers fishing in that area. We find it appalling to hear that one of the arguments for opening this area is that people are fishing for stripers there anyway. We would like to see more enforcement in the area if this is the case.

Therefore, in conclusion, we strongly urge NOAA to nip this potential problem in the bud by denying any request to open any portion of the EEZ to fishing for striped bass!

Sincerely, Mark Taylor, President Jersey Coast Anglers Association

Below is a letter I sent to the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council concerning summer flounder commercial issues:

Chris Moore Ph.D. Executive Director Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council 800 North State Street Dover, DE 19901
Dear Dr. Moore:

On Monday, September 24 2018, several members of the Jersey Coast Anglers Association (JCAA) attended the public hearing in Toms River, NJ, on the Summer Flounder Commercial Issues Amendment prepared by the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (MAFMC or Council) and the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC or Commission). As per the instructions in the summary document provided the Council, we would like to submit these brief comments:

  1. We completely support the position expressed by most of the commercial fisherman in attendance (as expressed by an informal show of hands) that there be no changes made to the summer flounder commercial allocations as presented in the summary document i.e. we support that the Council and Commission maintain the status quo. We see no justification for introducing additional financial and economic hardships to the commercial fisherman of Virginia, North Carolina, Maryland, Delaware, and New Jersey in order to benefit the commercial fisheries of New York, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Connecticut.
  2. We were surprised and confused by the inclusion New Jersey in the “Southern” block of states along with Virginia, North Carolina, Maryland and Delaware. Regardless of where the current center of mass of the summer flounder biomass currently sits, from the perspective of the commercial fishery, the community economics, and the history of the overall summer flounder fishery, this makes no sense at all. We request that the Council and Commission apply some common sense and reevaluate your model and put NJ in the northern region where it belongs.
Sincerely Mark Taylor President of JCAA
[News Contents] [Top]