By Frank Richetti

(from Jersey Coast Anglers Association February 1998 Newsletter)

Our next meeting will be Tuesday, January 27 at 7:30 p.m. in the Brick Township Municipal building. We will be discussing a whole range of fisheries issues from inshore concerns like elvers and menhaden to the offshore pelagic species. Be sure to have a member of your club attend, we need everyone’s input and cooperation as we go forward with positions.

I’m very excited about our annual fluke tournament, with the help of our generous sponsors, this year should be the best yet. Once again Yamaha has offered a 19 foot Cobia, powered by a Yamaha outboard for our grand prize drawing. Resorts Casino Hotel has come aboard and will sponsor the $1000 first place prize for each of the ten ports and provide their ballroom for the awards ceremony. The generosity of these and our other sponsors will make this an exciting and successful event. See Gary’s article for more details.

Moving on to more serious issues; the variety of areas that need attention these days is incredible, nearly every conceivable fishery has a management plan or is in the process of developing a management plan. There are also efforts to define and maintain essential fish habitats. It goes beyond just counting fish and fighting for allocation, it goes to the very heart of maintaining a healthy balanced ecosystem.

It really is too much information for any one person to digest. As the complexity of the issues grow and number of issues grow, it becomes increasingly difficult for any one delegate to effectively bring all the information from each of the committees back to his/her club. That is why the JCAA would like to expand each committee into working networks. Instead of burdening the club delegates to funnel all the information back to his/her club, I would like to see each club have a "contact person" just for a specific issue. He wouldn’t have to be the delegate or even be "on the committee", just someone who can be counted on to take action on his chosen issue when the time arises. Actions might include calling a key politician, attending a hearing, writing a letter or getting your club to do all the above. What ever the action that is needed, it will more likely get done by someone who is interested, motivated and not overwhelmed with all the different plans.

We recently saw proof of just how effective a large network can be when we were able to stop the elver bill from reaching the floor of the State Senate. Through the cooperation of outdoor writers at four major New Jersey newspapers, we were able to inform fishermen all over the state about the need for them to act quickly. State Senators received large numbers of phone calls from their local constituents expressing displeasure with the elver bill. The elver bill was stopped. See Tom Fote’s report for more detail.

We have all heard the old saying "there is power in numbers". Well numbers are useless without action and action is wasted if not taken in unison. Numbers acting in unison equal power. With an effective network throughout the state, and the coast for that matter, we can have more success stories like stopping the elver bill. Poll your clubs for folks willing to be contact points.

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