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Wednesday, July 24, 2024

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The Fishing Line: Politics and Fishing, Complicated

 

By Carolyn Miller

While we wait for the ocean temps to warm up, there have been some small stripers around. Be patient, the season should heat up this week. In the mean time think freshwater fish.
In an election year, it is really particularly important for anglers to pay attention to what’s happening on the political scene. Not always exciting, some decisions may come back to haunt us. Here are a few things to watch:
The New Jersey Assembly Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee recently voted to move forward Assembly legislation which would remove commercial gear from 99 percent of deployed reef materials on New Jersey’s two inshore artificial reefs. The Recreational Fishing Alliance (RFA) and the RFA-NJ board are supportive of the legislation calling it a win for recreational anglers who fish at the Sandy Hook and Axel Carlson reef sites where deployed commercial finfish, lobster and conch pots have created an access problem in recent years.
Senator John Kerry and Senator Olympia Snowe introduced legislation to restore funds collected under the Saltonstall-Kennedy Act of 1954 to “help the fishermen and communities for whom it was originally intended.” The Saltonstall-Kennedy Fund has supported fishery research and market development projects in the 58 years since its passage. However, beginning in 1979 increasing amounts of Saltonstall-Kennedy dollars have been transferred to help fund NOAA. Since FY1982, the S-K program has never allocated the minimum amount (50 percent after FY1980 and 60 percent after FY1983) specified by law for industry projects.
The bill is being sponsored in the House by Representative Barney Frank (D-Mass.) and Frank Guinta (R-New Hampshire). It has received widespread support from both industry and environmental groups. Find more information at www.SavingSeafood.org
The Mid-Atlantic Fisher Management Council is seeking applications for Advisory Panel Members with the goal of implementing changes to the management process and improving its fishery management plans based on stakeholder input. The Council is soliciting applications from qualified individuals to serve on its seven advisory panels. Current advisory panel members must re-apply by submitting an application to be considered for an advisory panel position on the Council.
The Council is seeking advisors to serve on the following advisory panels: Summer Flounder, Scup, and Black Sea Bass; Tilefish; Mackerel, Squid, and Butterfish; Surfclam and Ocean Quahog; Bluefish; Dogfish (Jointly managed with New England Council); Ecosystems, Habitat, and Ocean Planning.
Advisory panel members will be appointed during the next meeting of the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council scheduled for April 10-12, 2012 in Duck, NC. Anyone interested in serving on one of these advisory panels can submit an application to the Mid- Atlantic Fishery Management Council, 800 N. State Street, Suite 201, Dover, DE 19901, email the form to info1@mafmc.org or fax it to (302) 674-5399. Please note as the subject on your email or fax: ADVISORY PANEL. Applications can be obtained by visiting http://www.mafmc.org/, or by contacting the Council office at (877) 446-2362.
In a court decision March 9, US District Court Judge Gladys Kessler found that the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has failed to take required action to address the catch of severely depleted populations of Atlantic river herring and shad populations by the New England industrial herring fleet. The court found that a Fisheries Management Plan must protect all stocks that “require conservation and management” and may not unreasonably delay making such decisions. The court also found that the service failed to minimize bycatch in the herring fishery. Read the full decision: http://earthjustice.org/sites/default/files/KesslerA4Decision.pdf
The NJDEP Division of Fish and Wildlife has announced the winners of the 2011 Skillful Angler Awards Program. The program honors anglers who catch both freshwater and marine fish that are not quite record size, but are large enough to have tested the angler’s skill and be worthy of recognition. Since the program’s modest beginning, the Division has granted skillful angler status to 3,256 anglers.
Anglers like William Pilone who pulled a 54-pound striped bass from Delaware Bay; 10-year-old Thomas Dormida who reeled in a 5-pound, 4-ounce brown trout from the Musconetcong River; Steven Lytwyn who caught a 25 inch long largemouth bass fishing from the shore of Echo Lake in Mountainside; Mary Ellen Scott who landed a 6-pound chain pickerel through the ice on Little Swartswood Lake and 9-year-old Danny Burns who landed an 18-pound, 8-ounce bluefish from the ocean off Bay Head all know the Garden State provides excitement when it comes to fishing.
For more information about the winners of each category and their catch, visit http://www.njfishandwildlife.com/skwinn11.htm .
The Friends of the Cape May National Wildlife Refuge annual public meeting will be hehld on March 27. Hear about the new an exciting projects we are working on including a whale bone display and weekly free guided bird walks at Two Mile Beach in Lower Township. Learn more about birding opportunities and how to become involved as a refuge volunteer! Refreshments will be provided. Contact Jessica Daher at (856) 825-2174 or via email at friendsofcapemayrefuge@gmail.com.
Send your reports and pictures to cmiller@cmcherald.com. All pictures submitted are posted online at www.capemaycountyherald.com.

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