Fisheries Management & Legislative Report

by Tom Fote

(from Jersey Coast Anglers Association June 2003 Newsletter)


            When I first got involved with the Jersey Coast Anglers Association, we needed to raise money.  One of my suggestions was for raffles.  The company we could always count on was Abu Garcia.  With Jerry Gomber and Jim McIntosh on staff, Abu Garcia was always willing to provide whatever we needed.  When I started the Governor's Tournament and needed rods and reels for prizes, Abu Garcia stepped up again.  When we needed rods and reels for clinics that toured the state, again Abu Garcia stepped up and provided what we needed.  At that time, Abu Garcia was located in Teaneck, NJ.  When Abu Garcia was bought out by Berkley and moved to Spirit Lake, we lost that close relationship.  However, JCAA and I continued to work with Berkley and Abu Garcia in a variety of ways.  Although we lost the continued sponsorship, it was clear that Berkley had a commitment to fisheries conservation, both fresh and saltwater.  When I became involved with the Sport Fishing Institute, which later became the American Sportfishing Association, I continued to see Tom Bedell and his staff as a driving force in fisheries conservation.  I frequently see Tom, Karen Ridenour, Jim Martin and other staff members when I am meeting in Washington, DC and all over the country.  I know of no other tackle manufacturer with a higher profile in fisheries management.  Berkley contributes more time and money to issues of interest to JCAA than any other tackle manufacturer.  On every national issue, Berkley has been there. 

As Berkley acquired other manufacturers, including Fenwick, they decided to change the name of the umbrella organization to Pure Fishing.  It is important that we learn to associate Pure Fishing with Abu Garcia, Berkley, Johnson, Mitchell, Spider, Red Wolf and Fenwick so we are aware of the history of the company which was started by Tom Bedell's father, a former United States Congressman. 

With this history in mind, I approached Pure Fishing to be a sponsor of the JCAA Fluke Tournament.  I was thrilled when they said yes.  I can't think of another manufacturer whose goals are better aligned with JCAA's.   

We are proud to announce that Pure Fishing, through Fenwick and Abu Garcia, is now the sole rod and reel sponsor for the JCAA Fluke Tournament. 


American Sportfishing Association, Marine Fish Conservation Network and the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission Scheduled for Early June


            I will be attending the ASA and the Marine Fish Conservation Networks during the first week in June.  On the agenda will be reauthorization of the Magnuson Act, Marine Protected Areas, and many other timely topics.  I will also attend meetings on freshwater fisheries, land use and clean water.  Details of these meetings will be in our summer newspaper.  Tom Siciliano, President of JCAA, will join me in Washington, DC for these meetings. 

            The second week in June I will be attending the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission meeting, also held in Washington, DC.  On the agenda will be striped bass, summer flounder paybacks, and many other items.  You can find more information and the agenda at www.asmfc.org.  Or you can call 202-289-6400. 

            It appears that the June general meeting and newspaper will contain a wealth of information about these three meetings.  To get the information more quickly, you can email me at tfote@jcaa.org.  Just ask to be added to my email list. 




            JCAA has always supported the federal Freedom to Fish Act.  We were one of the original organizations working for passage of this bill.  We were always clear that this legislation was designed to protect the rights of recreational anglers.  We decided not to include commercial fishing because of various management decisions that impact on that sector.  There are times that commercial fishermen are restricted for reasons other than just science, including spatial conflicts or long-term protection for a stock.  For example, there is currently a ban on gill netting in Raritan and Barnegat Bays.  You can't bottom troll within 2 miles of the beach.  If commercial interests were included in the Freedom to Fish Act, some of these decisions would be in danger.  In addition, including commercial interests would endanger other management tools.  For these reasons, JCAA has never agreed to the inclusion of commercial fishermen and, in fact, was always clear that our support was contingent on leaving commercial interests out of the bill.  We did not want them to use our coattails to get their own legislation.  The current federal legislation deals only with recreational anglers. 

            This year the RFA began to introduce the Freedom to Fish legislation at each state level.  When we were told of this initiative, JCAA offered our support and took a public position of support for this legislation in New Jersey.  It has come to our attention that the Assembly amended the bill on May 15 to include commercial fishermen in their version of the bill.  We have not seen these amendments and are unclear how the wording could be interpreted.  When the federal Freedom to Fish bill was in early stages of development years ago,  JCAA decided it could not support the inclusion of commercial fisheries in the bill.  That has always been our position.  To our knowledge, the NJ Senate version still only includes recreational fishing.  We do not know if there are plans to amend the Senate version as well.  This puts JCAA in a difficult position.  If the Assembly’s amendments are included in the final state bill, JCAA will have to reevaluate its support.  We need to look carefully at the impact of the Assembly’s amendments to the bill and decide what position we will take.  Whatever happens with the state bill, JCAA will continue to support the federal bill.

The irony is that we may end up working with some groups at the federal level and opposing the same groups at the state level.  Even more ironic is that we may be forced to align ourselves at the state level with the very organizations that forced us to design the federal legislation in the first place.  This issue will be discussed at the next JCAA meeting.  We need to decide on a course of action.  If you have any questions, please send me an email. 




I will be attending a two-day workshop on the research needs of bluefish.  This workshop will bring together scientists, commercial and recreational fishermen, representatives from universities, NMFS, and ASMFC.  The purpose of this meeting is to identify the data gaps in research on bluefish to help us make better management decisions.  Congress has appropriated funds for bluefish research but need to spend the money wisely.  We need information for stock assessment and other areas that will help make management decisions.  I have high expectations for this meeting.  The workshop will be held at the Conference Center at the Maritime Institute of Technology, 5700 Hammonds Ferry Road, Linthicum Heights, Maryland 21090.  There will be a report in next month's newspaper.




            Governor McGreevey continues to keep his commitment to clean water by upgrading water systems to C1 classification.  This is a significant step in guaranteeing clean water throughout the state.  JCAA will also be participating in meetings of the subcommittees that will develop a statewide water supply plan.  These meetings begin on Friday, May 16th.  Included below is the press release from Earth Day.  



New protections for critical drinking water supplies and ecologically sensitive waterbodies


(HAWORTH) –Governor James E. McGreevey celebrated Earth Day today by delivering on his Earth Day 2002 pledge, announcing that the state has signed rules strengthening protection for nine drinking water reservoirs and six ecologically sensitive river and stream segments.


“One year ago, I stood before you and made a commitment to New Jersey’s families and communities that we would protect these fifteen precious water resources,” McGreevey said. “Today, not only have we met that commitment, but I once again promise that we can and will do more to safeguard our drinking water supplies for future generations.”


McGreevey noted that the nine reservoirs included in today’s rules provide drinking water to approximately 3.5 million residents – more than 40 percent of New Jersey’s population. The Oradell Reservoir alone, site of today’s press conference, provides drinking water to more than 750,000 residents of Bergen and Hudson Counties.


The new rules provide for “Category One” (C1) designation, the highest form of protection available. The rules provide protections preventing any measurable deterioration in the existing water quality of the 15 water bodies. While the state’s previous C1 designations were primarily extended to trout production streams, protection of these water bodies represents the first significant effort to safeguard high-quality drinking water supplies.


In addition to safeguarding important supplies of drinking water, the protections announced today also will help preserve water quality for almost 200 miles of six streams and waterways that serve as critical habitat for many of New Jersey’s threatened and endangered species.


While overlooking the shore of the Oradell Reservoir, the Governor advocated further, comprehensive protections for New Jersey’s critical water resources. Joining him at the event was Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell, as well as numerous legislators, mayors, environmental advocates and community activists.


“Governor McGreevey has recognized that we need safe, plentiful drinking water to preserve the quality of life for New Jersey’s families and provide sound economic opportunities for our businesses,” said Commissioner Campbell. “Through the Governor’s strong leadership and foresight, New Jersey has once again established itself as a national environmental leader.”


In addition to the 15 waterbodies announced last Earth Day, the McGreevey Administration formally proposed C1 rules for an additional seven waterbodies based on their production of trout and habitat for endangered species.  Governor McGreevey also pledged to provide additional waterbodies with C1 protection in future rules, including the Metedeconk and some of its tributaries and many of the waterbodies that feed into the Oradell Reservoir, including Lake Tappan and Woodcliff Lake. In both cases, DEP is working closely with local officials to determine the specific streams and waterways that require critical protection.


Campbell further noted that, following the Governor’s direction, DEP has developed a comprehensive list of waterbodies statewide that could be potential candidates for future C1 designation or other forms of water quality protection. The list of potential candidates is currently available on the DEP website for an informal public comment period that closes on April 25, 2003. Following a review of the comments, DEP will begin a series of formal rulemaking proposals for future rounds of C1 designations.  An opportunity for additional public input will be provided for each proposed rule.


Below is the list of the fifteen waterbodies receiving C1 protection.



Round Valley Reservoir – Clinton Township, Hunterdon County

Round Valley is managed by the New Jersey Water Supply Authority and provides drinking water for residents of central New Jersey.


Doughty Reservoir – Egg Harbor, Galloway, Absecon, Atlantic County

Doughty Reservoir is managed by the Atlantic City Municipal Utilities Authority and provides drinking water for residents of Atlantic City.


Oradell Reservoir – Harrington Park, Closter, Haworth, Oradell, Bergen County

Oradell Reservoir is managed by United Water Resources and provides drinking water for residents of northeast New Jersey, including Bergen and Hudson counties.


Charlottesburg Reservoir – Rockaway, Morris County

Charlottesburg Reservoir is managed by the Newark City Water Department and provides drinking water for residents of northeast New Jersey, including Morris, Union, Passaic, and Essex counties.


Boonton Reservoir – Boonton Township, Morris County

Boonton Reservoir is managed by the Jersey City Water Department and provides drinking water for residents of northeast New Jersey, including Essex, Passaic, and Hudson counties.


Swimming River Reservoir – Colts Neck, Red Bank, Monmouth County

Swimming River Reservoir is managed by North Jersey American Water Company and provides drinking water for residents of Monmouth County.


Glendola Reservoir – Wall, Monmouth County

Glendola Reservoir is managed by New Jersey American, Monmouth Division and provides drinking water for residents of southeast New Jersey.

Manasquan Reservoir – Howell, Monmouth County

Manasquan Reservoir is managed by the New Jersey Water Supply Authority and provides drinking water for residents of Monmouth and Ocean counties.


Wanaque Reservoir – Ringwood, Wanaque, Passaic County

Wanaque Reservoir is managed by North Jersey District Water Supply Commission and provides drinking water for residents of northeast New Jersey, including Essex, Passaic, and Hudson counties.



South Branch Rockaway Creek – Clinton, Lebanon, Readington, Hunterdon County

South Branch Rockaway Creek is located in Hunterdon County in the Raritan Watershed. The headwaters of the creek are in Clinton Township, while the creek flows in an eastward direction through Lebanon Borough and Readington Township, meeting the North Branch of the Rockaway River just north of Route 22. The portion upgraded to C1 classification includes the headwaters to Lake Cushetunk, including all tributaries.


Sidney Brook – Clinton, Union, Franklin, Hunterdon County

Sidney Brook is located in Hunterdon County in the Raritan Watershed. A headwater stream with high water quality, the brook flows through portions of Clinton, Union and Franklin townships. The portion upgraded to C1 classification includes the headwaters to the brook’s confluence with South Branch Raritan River, including all tributaries.


Flat Brook – Walpack, Sussex County

Nestled within the rural landscape of western Sussex County, the Flat Brook watershed is one of the most expansive, ecologically intact, high water quality stream systems in the state. The portion upgraded to C1 classification flows from the Flatbrook-Roy Wildlife Management Area boundary to the Delaware River.


Pequest River – Liberty, Mansfield, Warren County

Pequest River and Beaver Run are high quality watersheds that feature an excellent example of calcareous wetlands and important wildlife habitat. The two portions upgraded to C1 classification include the segment from the Lehigh and Hudson River railway bridge to the northern boundary of the Pequest Wildlife Management Area and the segment from the upstream boundary of the Pequest Wildlife Management Area to the downstream boundary.


Assiscunk Creek – Springfield, Mansfield, Burlington County

Surrounded by farmland and bordered by a rich floodplain of oak and maple-forested swamp, vernal pools, and marshes, the Assiscunk Creek has high water quality and contains important wildlife habitat. The portion upgraded to C1 classification includes the headwaters to the confluence with Barkers Brook, including all tributaries.


Beaver Brook – Clinton, Hunterdon County

Beaver Brook is located in Annandale in the Raritan River watershed. The portion upgraded to C1 classification includes the Beaver Avenue bridge downstream to the lowermost I-78 bridge 

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