FISHERIES MANAGEMENT & LEGISLATIVE REPORT
by Tom Fote
(from Jersey Coast Anglers Association (July 1999 Newsletter)
Menhaden Protection Bill S722 A1827 Passes Senate With Only 2 No Votes
The NJ Senate voted on Menhaden Bill (S722/A1827) on June 21 with only two negative votes by Senator James Cafiero and Senator Martha Bark. This bill would get the large Reduction Boats out of state waters. This bill now has to go to Assembly for passage. This is our best chance to get something done on Menhaden this year. You need to start putting pressure on the NJ Assembly to get this bill moved. We can accomplish this bill this legislative this session and it effects the whole New Jersey Coast. The key people to move this bill are Assembly Speaker Jack Collins and Assemblyman John Gibson, chair of the Natural Resources and Agriculture Committee. The Natural Resources and Agriculture Committee is the next step for this bill. You need to call, write or fax each of these assembly representative and let them know you want this bill (S722/A1827) posted as soon as possible. You should also remind them that this is an assembly election year and you are concerned about their actions. In addition, you need to contact you local assemblymen and women, asking for their help to get this bill posted and their vote for this important legislation.
The other bill, A3308, that Menhaden Project is discussing has just been introduced and has not gone through any committee and will only effects Raritan Bay. We will discuss bill A3308 at this JCAA's Meeting on June 29. I think it is important that we focus our attention on S722/A1827 to insure its passage right now. Here are the people that need to be contacted
Speaker Jack Collins R
63 East Ave
Woodstown NJ 08098-1499
PHONE NUMBER: (856) 769-3633
FAX NUMBER (856) 769-0049
John C. Gibson, - Chair R
Legislative District 1
2087 South Shore Rd., Seaville, NJ 08230
PHONE NUMBER: (609) 624-1222
FAX NUMBER (609) 624-0244
Connie Myers, Vice-Chair R
Legislative District 23
124 W. Washington Ave., Washington, NJ 07882
PHONE NUMBER: (908) 835-1202
FAX NUMBER (908) 835-1205
Larry Chatzidakis, R
Legislative District 8
Suite 103, 3000 Midlantic Drive, Mount Laurel, NJ 08054
PHONE NUMBER: (609) 234-8080
FAX NUMBER (609) 234-3990
Clare M. Farragher, R
Legislative District 12
40 Broad Street, Broad Street Professional Plaza,
Suite 4, Freehold, NJ 07728
PHONE NUMBER: (732) 462-9009
FAX NUMBER (732) 462-5467
Scott E. Garrett R
Legislative District 24
61 Spring St., 3rd Floor, Newton, NJ 07860
PHONE NUMBER: (973) 579-7585
FAX NUMBER (973) 579-4902
Barbara Buono D
Legislative District 18
1967 Rt. 27, Suite 20, Edison, NJ 08817
PHONE NUMBER: (732) 287-5609
FAX (732) 287-5640
Herbert Conaway D
Legislative District 7
Delran Professional Center
8008 Route 130 North
Delran, NJ 08035
PHONE NUMBER: (609) 461-3997
FAX (609) 461-3823
The Striped Bass Board meeting is scheduled for July 7 in Providence Rhode Island at the Providence Biltmore Hotel, Kennedy Plaza, Providence, Rhode Island; (401) 421-0770.from 10am to 5pm. I do not know if the advisors will be invited to attend at this time.
I received this article and thought about what will happen if they open the Hudson River to netting and increase the commercial catch in Delaware Bay by the state of Delaware. I believe we will see those fisheries go downhill quickly.Rising Commercial Rockfishing Quotas Have a Downside
By Angus Phillips
Tuesday, May 25, 1999
From my house to Chesapeake Bay Bridge is 13 minutes by Boston Whaler in calm weather. It looms out there, beckoning one of the most famous rockfishing spots in the East, and I love rockfishing.
But lately the allure is fading. Since rockfish season opened a month ago Ive made three pilgrimages to the bridge in my little boat, twice to troll and last week to toss bucktails at barnacle-encrusted pilings. Maryland law allows you to keep one rockfish a day over 28 inches in spring season, and Id love to bring one home, but I have yet to catch a keeper.
Nor have I caught many throwbacks maybe a half-dozen or so. I did boat one 32-inch keeper the first week of the season, trolling aboard Capt. Buddy Harrisons charter boat, Buddy Plan, out of Tilghman Island. Eight of us divvied up that fish, plus the two other keepers we caught, so weve had a taste of rock fillet to whet the appetite.
But catching a fish on a charter boat with a captain whos been at it half a century, who trolls 11 lines hard all day and keeps in contact with 20 other skippers by radio to track down the schools is different from catching one yourself on your own 15-footer. Anyone with a wallet can hire a guide. As a do-it-yourselfer, Im discouraged. Im not alone.
"It gets harder and harder to catch them every year," says Kevin Kenno, my Gaithersburg buddy who is one of the best Bay Bridge bucktailers Ive come across in 20 years.
Ten years ago Kenno and I were in bucktail heaven. A five-year rockfishing moratorium had just expired. We could hit the bridge and catch rock after rock of 10, 15 and 20 pounds, jigging the pilings. In 1990, 92, even 94 and 95, recreational seasons were short, and commercial rockfish quotas were low as Maryland strove to re-establish the state fish to glorious abundance. Big rockfish were everywhere.
Slowly, as resource managers memories grew more distant from the terrible specter of rockfish extinction that promoted the moratorium, quotas and season lengths crept up.
In 1990, Marylanders were allowed to catch 750,000 pounds of rock. By 1995, the combined commercial and recreational catch was 2.8 million pounds. For the past three years, its been 5.5 million pounds.
Down the bay in Virginia the increase was similar, from 420,000 pounds in 1990 to 3.4 million pounds this year.
That adds up to 8.9 million pounds of rockfish to be removed from the estuary this year, assuming no one cheats and takes too much.
"Its too much," says Andy Hughes, who was on one of the two boats entered in last weekends Annapolis Yacht Club spring rockfish tournament to bring in a keeper to weigh. "Twenty boats caught three fish, and only two were keepers," said Hughes, who was on the second-place boat. "We can do better than that."
He and I and Kenno and even Capt. Harrison in Tilghman agree. "It seems like this is the worst spring weve had in the charter industry since the moratorium," said Harrison. "I think theres just too many rockfish being caught commercially. It needs to be curtailed. They need to go less, less, less; not more, more more."
Resource managers see it otherwise. "There are more rockfish in the bay now than there were in 1990," says Phil Jones, head of resource management for Marylands Department of Natural Resources. He conceded, however, there were more big fish in the bay at the end of the moratorium, while today the bulk of rock are smaller.
Jones thinks recent failures by me and my pals reflects a lull in availability of big fish as spawning season ended, and larger spawning fish moved out of the bay to spend the summer in the ocean. He reckons well get happy again when the minimum size drops to 18 inches in Maryland June 1.
Jack Travelstead of the Virginia Marine Resources Commission was surprised to hear my complaints. "The last couple of years, fishing has been so good. Ive heard nothing but good news and no complaints at all," he said.
Well, heres one. Rockfishing in Chesapeake Bay from this avid anglers perspective is not what it was 10 years ago or five years ago, not even close, and the trend is unmistakably downhill. Its harder to catch a keeper today and much harder to catch rock in a sporting way. Where once we could enjoy splendid success flyfishing or chasing breaking fish with topwater lures, today you must work harder, ladling out chum to lure fish in or deep-trolling lures. The record abundance of big rockfish we once enjoyed is no more.
Resource managers are convinced rockfish remain abundant, even as catch limits get ratcheted up and up. They hold meetings and form committees, but the voices they hear are mostly of commercial fishermen and charter boat operators, who have reason to want quotas and catch limits kept high. Theyre the least likely to call for conservation, since they make their livings catching fish.
Most recreational anglers I know agree that the best world is one in which sport fish such as rock, king of the bay, are so abundant even those of us who only get out a few times a summer with no fancy equipment or communications to lead us around can catch a mess of good ones. Wed be happy to throw almost all our keepers back, just for the pleasure of catching them.
With 220,000 rockfish sport anglers in Maryland, we have the numbers to make a case. Do we have the voice? Is it time to demand loud and clear that resource managers reverse the trend of ever-increasing commercial quotas and season lengths that has us scratching to catch the sort of fish that a decade ago were here in plenty?
You bet it is.
© Copyright 1999 The Washington Post Company
The long awaited Eel Fisheries Management Plan is going out to public hearing. The science is so poor that the plan does not go far enough in my estimation. JCAA supports closing the glass eel fishery and this plan would allow for a fishery. The JCAA supports the listing of glass eels and elvers in Appendix III of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITIES). Please send your comments to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission in support of CITIES listing and the closing of glass eel fishery for export. JCAA only supports limited harvest for in state aquaculture. This hearing is June 30, the night after our general membership meeting, so we will have time for further discussion.
In March the American Eel Management Board approved the Draft American Eel Fishery Management Plan (FMP) for public hearings. The public comment period will extend through July 23, 1999. The ASMFC anticipates taking final action on the FMP by October 1999, during its' 58th Annual Meeting in Mystic, Connecticut.
The draft FMP was developed in response to concerns over the perceived growing exploitation of American eel, as expressed by state and federal fishery resource agencies, conservation organizations and fisheries interests. Domestic and overseas markets utilize nearly every life stage of eel, and demand for the species continues to be greater than the fishery can supply. The economic value of eel and the importance of the species in supporting the diversity of the waters that it inhabits are significant. Currently, the status of the American eel population along the Atlantic seaboard is poorly understood. Therefore, the Atlantic coastal states concluded that a coordinated, interstate plan could best address conservation and fishery needs for the American eel.
Fishermen and other interested parties can provide their input into the decision-making process by attending any of the scheduled public hearings, contacting their state agency, or by contacting the Commission. Copies of the Draft FMP can be obtained by either contacting Jeanette Braxton, Administrative Assistant, at (202) 289-6400, ext. 333, or via the Commission's webpage at http://www.asmfc.org. Comments on the draft American Eel FMP should be forwarded to the Commission, c/o American Eel FMP Coordinator. For more information, please contact Dr. Joseph Desfosse, Fisheries Management Plan Coordinator, at (202) 289-6400, ext. 329.
New Jersey has scheduled its public hearing on the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission's Draft American Eel Fishery Management Plan for June 30, 1999. The hearing will begin at 6:00 PM in the A Wing Lecture Hall at Stockton State College in Pomona, NJ.
The draft plan considers the listing of glass eels and elvers in Appendix III of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITIES).CODE OF ETHICS
I received a release from the National Marine Fisheries Service about Recreation Code of Ethics that they had been working on for a couple of years. International Game Fish Association (IGFA) had done this years ago and what a waste time and of taxpayers money this was for NMFS to duplicate IGFA work. But the NMFS had created a group to be liaison with the recreational community and they were trying to prove that they were really doing something instead of spinning their wheels. This group has done nothing as far as I am concerned to protect and work with the recreational anglers. The few times I have had a discussion with them, they proved how little they knew about recreational fishing in NJ. All you have to do is look at Secretarial Plans on Highly Migratory Species to realize that they are worthless. National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration, parent organization of NMFS, has now created a recreational ombudsman to work with the recreational fishing community. I was down in Washington DC for a week at American Sportfishing Association meeting and noticed he wasn't there. This would have been a great opportunity to meet all the members of the recreational industry.
The IGFA, after looking a the Code of Ethics sent around by NMFS, suggested that they should do a Commercial Code Of Ethics and IGFA put one together for them so they do not have to waste anymore taxpayer money.IGFA COMMERCIAL CODE OF ETHICS
Recently the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) announced the adoption of a recreational code of angling ethics. The code, presumably created by NMFS at considerable taxpayer cost, gives NMFS an official avenue to foster sound resource management attitudes and actions with angling constituents according to a NMFS official. We suppose anglers should be grateful for this. The code introduces such innovative ideas as not dumping gas and oil into aquatic environments; obey angling laws; release fish carefully; dont trespass on private land; and other suggestions that apparently NMFS believes anglers would never have thought of themselves.
Apparently NMFS doesnt feel that the commercial fishing industry needs a code of ethics, but just in case they simply havent gotten around to it yet, IGFA submits the following proposal for NMFS possible adoption:Commercial Fishing Code of Ethics
Thou shall not
Mark your calendar for a dinner on November 14th 1999 at the Crystal Point Marina, Rt 70 & River Road, Point Pleasant, NJ to honor this years and past recipients of our Sportsperson Of The Year Award.Fishermans Alert-Possible Bans For Holgate
by Fishermans Headquarters
The U.S. Department of Interior is considering a total ban of motorized vehicles (this means beach buggies) from operating in the Holgate division of the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge. The Holgate division is basically the last two miles of the Southern end of Long Beach Island. This area offers access to a tremendous beach and inlet fishery, a true fishing paradise for the surf fisherman during the last four months of the year. With no mention of problems with public access in prior management plans, why should the closing of Holgate even be considered? Where is the concern about public access to this previously accessible area?
Surf fishermen have a difficult time with unrestricted beach access throughout New Jersey. As an important aspect to the local economy, surf fisherman and public beach access must not be compromised due to limited access. Local businesses and governments must hear our voices. Otherwise, another link to the chain of beach closures will be secured. Whether acting as an individual or representing an association or club, let them hear your voice. Dont allow any more fellow fisherman to be pushed into further beach restrictions. Please, get the word out, and quick, comment about Holgate before July 15, 1999 in writing to:
Edward B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge
PO Box 72
Great Creek Road
Oceanville, NJ 08231-0072
Please, Keep Holgate Open!