President's Report

by John Toth
(from Jersey Coast Anglers Association March 2020 Newsletter)

My first order of business as JCAA’s new president is to Thank our outgoing president, Mark Taylor, for the energy and time he spent to support the JCAA during his two-year term!

I think most of you know that with the exception of our office manager, Paul Turi, who keeps our office running smoothly and all of us in line, we are all volunteers who are not compensated while attending important fishing management meetings and other activities. Why do we do this!? We can answer this question in many ways, but it really comes down to our protecting the fishing rights of all anglers fishing in New Jersey’s waters. This is really important to us now more than ever since our fishing opportunities are continually under attack by federal fishing managers who want to reduce our quotas for just about every species. Who would have thought that our bluefish quota of 15 fish would be reduced to 3 or 5 fish or that you can only catch 3 snappers in 2020! Our fishing opportunities are melting away before our eyes! To give you a better appreciation of this dismal picture, I have attached a report that was prepared by Captain Bob Bogan that details the businesses that have been lost due to fishing mismanagement. I can guarantee you that the JCAA will be in the forefront of trying to stop this madness! More information on this issue will be featured in the next edition of our newsletter.

How can you help the JCAA on this loss of our fishing opportunities and other important issues that we face? Your support is critical! If we are in front marching to the wars that confront us and there is nobody behind us, how effective can we be? You can support us in various ways such as: attending our monthly meetings so that you can be aware of the current issues that we face, paying your club dues in a timely fashion, working at our various trade shows like the one coming up in Atlantic City, attending our fundraising Beefsteak Dinner on April 4th at the Forked River Tuna club that is being prepared by Paul Haertel and other activities that are ongoing. Your time and my time are precious, but please make the time to support the JCAA in one or more of these activities and events.

Speaking of time, I want to thank Eric Engard of the NJ Council of Marlin & Tuna Clubs for volunteering his time to be the Chairperson in charge of the Large Pelagic Committee. It is this type of volunteerism that is so important to the effectiveness of the JCAA. This position was held by the late John Koegler and we are glad that Eric has stepped up to the plate to fill this important committee.

During 2020, we have other issues that are on our plate and public access is one of them. Our governor has signed the Public Trust Doctrine and its implementation is turning out to be challenging with forces that want access and others that want to slow or even stop it. George Browne, JCAA Access Committee, has been spending a lot of his time being on top of this issue by attending access meetings and talking to our DEP concerning enforcement.

Another issue facing us is the installation of windmills off New Jersey’s shore. Paul Eidman is keeping us updated on its development. I find this issue to be very fascinating and I have taken the time to go to numerous meetings to be aware of what effect these new windmills will have on our ability to fish by them and their effect on our environment.

We have very important issues facing us anglers during 2020 and I can assure you that the JCAA will be on top of them and also keep you informed on their status.

Lost Recreational Fishing Businesses

This list and comments were prepared by Captain Bob Bogan who operates the boat The Gambler operating from Point Pleasant, NJ.

Party Fishing Vessel and Charter fishing vessels that carried more than 6 passengers --Businesses that have Gone Under in New Jersey (not replaced) since the Bad Reauthorizations of Magnuson-Stevens in 1996 and 2006. More have been added to this list; the boat Brooklyn (when NMFS in December 2019 announced a 5 fish bag limit for bluefish. A tackle shop in Atlantic Highlands (which is a busy fishing marina)

Bayonne: Bucky Perth Amboy: Sea Pigeon Leonardo: Freddy C Highlands
  • Crack-a-Dawn
  • Eagle
  • Jersey Girl
  • Ranger
  • Catherine II
  • Mohawk Explorer
  • Mohawk IV
  • Eileen
  • Ginny Lynn
  • American Eagle
  • Atlantis
  • Capt Kel
Point Pleasant
  • Norma KII
  • Miss Norma K
  • Deep Adventures III
  • Deep Adventures IV
  • Sea Devil
  • Cock Robin
  • White Star
  • Miss LBI
  • Doris Mae
  • Searcher
  • Jersey Devil
Atlantic City: Capt Applegate Sea Isle City
  • Capt Robbins
  • Miss Ocean City
Fortescue: Angler Cape May
  • Mid 90's: 29 party boats
  • Currently: 9 party boats
During Same Years, NEW to the industry:
  • Perth Amboy: Sea Hawk (for sale?)
  • Highlands: Dorothy B (transferred from NY)
  • Pt. Pleasant: Voyager

This is a count of 50, once viable businesses, that are gone for good (In NJ alone). This is NOT anecdotal information. These were US Coast Guard, federally documented vessels. NMFS wants us off the ocean --they have done a good job. Fisheries management has been hi-jacked by special interest groups that are making money by putting us out of business. They are penalizing fishermen on fish stocks that are rebuilt as high as 300%! Summer flounder biomass stock rose from 35.9 million lbs. in 1995 to 88.9 million lbs. by 2014 (more than double) --this was achieved through our sacrifices --not fisheries management (who I've heard get paid $400 plus per-day, put up in a fancy hotel, all expenses paid, for their time at the meetings.)

The Original intent of Magnuson Stevens was good: Increase fish stocks and maintain a viable fishing community through sound fisheries management. This is no longer the case. Fishing communities no longer matter.

Above is only a list of larger recreational for-hire fishing charter and party boat businesses that have disappeared since the Magnuson-Stevens reauthorizations of 1996 and 2006. It does not include family run tackle shops and fishing marinas and boat rental marinas --and all the residual loss of business that has suffered under the inequity of these unfair fish rulings.

And would be improbable to estimate the numbers of a whole generation of lower-income people who have given up -- or not even learned-- saltwater fishing due to the fact that the cost doesn't warrant --no chance to bring home dinner.

Fisheries management has successfully divided and conquered fishermen; from Recreational vs Commercial, private boat vs for-hire boat, State against State, beach fishermen vs boat fishermen.

All the while, the enviro-industry (and make no doubt, it is a money making industry) are laughing all the way to the bank. Behind doors, these same people are earnestly working to create Marine Sanctuaries to further restrict our..."Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness", (which was our unalienable right, spoken of in the Declaration of Independence).

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