Fisheries Management
& Legislative Report

by Tom Fote
(from Jersey Coast Anglers Association October 2021 Newsletter)

Contents:

State of JCAA

Since March of 2020 we have all faced many challenges and have had to learn new ways to conduct meetings. This has also given me some time to think about where we are going with JCAA. The pandemic has only exaggerated already existing problems.

When I first went on the board in 1987, I was the 6th youngest board member. Most of the board members were in their 50s. Thirty-five years later, I am still the 6th youngest board member at 74. Some of the board members are in their 80s and still working hard for the environment and recreation fishing. We have a big youth education and wounded warrior program. We really need young blood to continue this into the future. We need people to get involved in fisheries management. We need people to get involved in JCAA. We still have only one woman on the board and most of the board members have been around since JCAA started. Young blood and new blood bring new ideas and new energy into the organization. I still use a flip phone, I’m not on Facebook, I don’t text or Instagram. We need tech savvy people to help us reach out to the younger generation. JCAA is an organization of clubs, and we need these participants to come from the clubs.

We thought it would be easier to get a quorum at online meetings since no travel is involved. Just the opposite has happened. It has become difficult for us to take positions since without a quorum we can’t take a vote. We are thinking of changing the bylaws and some position we need take but we don’t have enough members at the meeting to take a vote. Please check with your JCAA club representative and offer to help by attending meetings.

The other concern I have is JCAA has not been able to do a fundraiser for almost two years. Our raffles have barely covered the cost of prizes and tickets. We canceled our dinner last year and the Fluke Tournament two years in a row. These are our major fundraisers. We have been operating at a large deficit for the last two years. Most of our expenses are fixed: insurance to cover the board, rent on the office, mailing and printing costs. Our labor costs are the smallest part of our budget, just our part time office manager. The clubs have not been paying their dues and donations have been limited.

I have been trying not to discuss this in the newspaper but the lack of attendance at meetings has made this necessary. JCAA has been a strong voice in the management of fisheries for many years. JCAA led the drive to make striped bass a gamefish. This battle had been going on since 1939. Once we voted to make striped bass a gamefish, it took us almost 3 years to reach that goal over 50 years after it first began. Working with other groups, we pushed the menhaden reduction boats out of state waters. JCAA, Clean Ocean Action, American Littoral Society and other organizations finally stopped the dumping of Agent Orange into the ocean. Every fisheries or environmental decision that concerns clean water and the health of the ocean has been impacted by the work of JCAA. We had members testify before Congress on many issues including striped bass and the environment. Our board members also sit on other boards for environmental and recreational organizations. We have worked continuously with ASA since it came into existence.

Some people thought I helped start JCAA. I did not. I started going to JCAA meetings representing Berkeley Striper Club two years after JCAA was formed. The most important thing is for you to get your clubs more actively involved in JCAA and your club representatives to attend the monthly meetings. That may mean taking a leadership role and offering to be club representative or serving on a committee. We haven’t had an HMS committee since John Koegler passed away. If you have any questions, you can email or call me or any of the board members. We are all listed on the webpage.

I am hoping next year we will be back to normal. As you can see we are having a dinner November 14th. I know some of you still have concerns about the virus but if you can’t attend, please send a donation. JCAA is your organization.

ASA Policy Report
by Mike Waine

Opposing an Experimental Fishing Permit Application to Harvest Atlantic Thread Herring

Lund’s fisheries, a NJ Commercial Fishing Company, has submitted an Experimental Fishing Permit (EFP) application to the MAFMC to explore a commercial purse seine fishery for Atlantic thread herring. Atlantic thread herring are an important forage species for many sportfish throughout the Atlantic and are currently managed under the Forage Amendment as an ecosystem component species. The goal of the Forage Amendment is to prohibit the development of new commercial fisheries until the Council has had an adequate opportunity to assess the scientific information relating to any new fisheries and consider potential impacts to existing fisheries, fishing communities, and the marine ecosystem. ASA and a coalition of conservation groups are opposing the EFP because there is not adequate scientific data or any proposed data collection programs associated with the EFP that would evaluate impacts to the ecosystem and sportfish that rely on Atlantic thread herring as forage. We will continue to track and engage on this EFP as it moves through the review process.

ASMFC Annual Meeting Goes Virtual
October 18th – 21st

The ASMFC Annual Meeting will not take place in New Jersey. Because of COVID 19 we had to cancel the in person meeting. This agenda was sent out before the meeting went virtual so there may be many changes. There are no changes posted on the webpage right now but check in for the updated agenda and the meeting materials. You can see this is a busy agenda and there are many important topics being covered. It amazes me how few recreational participants are attending the virtual meeting or making comments. Except for Mike Waine from ASA, the recreational community has been absent. The commercial community has been in attendance. I assume there will be discussion about increasing the commercial quota during the striped bass meeting. People complained that they could not attend meetings. Now with virtual meetings you can be at home or in your office, listen to the meeting and ask questions. We can have more participation from the public on the virtual meetings since no travel is required. If you can’t be on during the day due to work hours, you can access the meetings online and listen to what transpired. This might help you write written comments for the upcoming public hearings on striped bass. Don’t complain about getting the short end of the stick if you don’t take the time to attend.

Here is link to general information about the meeting. It includes information on how to join the live stream and guidelines for public comments. Here is the link for the preliminary agenda.

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