JCAA Sportsperson of the Year Dinner

by Paul Turi, Co-Chairman
(from Jersey Coast Anglers Association December 2019 Newsletter)

All too often, people who do so many things to promote, enhance and protect the sport of salt water fishing are not recognized. The purpose of the annual Jersey Coast Anglers Association (JCAA) dinner is to recognize the contributions of these individuals who devote their time, energy and resources (often financial) to support salt water fishing, especially in New Jersey.

The people who have received this prestigious award vary and some of them include: U.S. Congressman Frank Pallone, Senator Joe Palaia, Al Ristori, George Howard (NJ Federation & former Director NJ Fish & Game), Bill Figley, Sergio Radossi, Pete Grimbilas, Chairman, NJ Outdoor Alliance and most recently John Tiedmann from Monmouth University who was honored for his dedication to protecting marine habitats, water quality and striped bass.

As you can see, these individuals come from varied backgrounds, but they all have commonality with their dedication to the sport of salt water fishing.

In case you don’t know how they are selected to receive this prestigious award, the JCAA member clubs nominate their candidate for it. The names of the candidates and a summary of their achievements in regard to salt water fishing are printed in the monthly JCAA newsletter so that club members can review them and decide on who should receive this award. Each club has only one vote to cast in this special election that is held at the JCAA’s October General membership meeting. At this meeting, the names of the candidates are read and nominated. A vote is taken in a secret ballot format and the candidate with the most votes receives the JCAA award.

This year’s JCAA Sportsperson of the Year dinner was held at Martell’s Water’s Edge Restaurant in Bayville, NJ. Approximately 110 JCAA members and supporters were in attendance. The JCAA has held this dinner at the Crystal Point Yacht Club for many years, but we had to change the venue since the Crystal Point would not provide the JCAA with a reserved date for this function and a significant price increase. This was our first time at Martell’s Water’s Edge and it was a positive experience. However, we are still seeking comments from club members to determine if they are satisfied with it and want us to return.

Two individuals were honored at this dinner. John Tiedmann received the JCAA Sportsperson-of-the-Year award. John is the Assistant Dean at Monmouth University’s School of Science and Director of the Marine and Environmental Biology and Policy Program. John’s career has been dedicated to protecting marine habitats and water quality. John also works with Stripers Forever to protect striped bass and to restore the species. In addition to his work as a researcher, scientist and educator, John is an avid angler and has been recognized with appointments to various organizations such as the Advisory Committee to the NJ Sea Grant Consortium.

Liz Jackson, Program Coordinator of Hooked on-Fishing-Not-on-Drugs received JCAA’s Youth Education Award. HOFNOD is a state sponsored program with a focus of getting more youths involved in fishing, especially from disadvantaged neighborhoods. Liz has done an exceptional job in managing this program to engage more youths to experience fishing and nature in general.

The JCAA and the New Jersey Outdoor Alliance (NJOA) have worked to get funding for this program for a number of years, possibly ten. I made a presentation to the Senate Environmental Committee in Trenton a number of years ago to support HOFND and this committee approved it for eventual vote by our legislators. We are presently trying to increase funding for this worthwhile program and during the NJOA’s caucus held in Trenton during December of 2018, I along with other NJOA members talked to a number of legislators to increase the funding for this program from $200,000 to $450,000. We anticipate that this increase in funding will be approved.

Congratulations to both John Tiedmann and Liz Jackson for receiving your awards! Your dedication to the sport salt water fishing is recognized by all of us and well deserved.

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