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New Jersey Assembly Says “Yes” To Conservation

After months of intense lobbying by the Recreational Fishing Alliance and
friends, the New Jersey General Assembly passed Assembly Bill No. 3512
which prohibits the taking of menhaden in state waters for the purpose of
reduction including conversion to fish meal, oil, and other components.
Menhaden are small oily fish that largely provide the foundation for the
marine food chain in New Jersey waters. Due to predator/prey relationships,
stocks of fish that the recreational sector depends on such as bluefish,
striped bass, summer flounder, and weakfish are dependent upon healthy
stocks of menhaden.

    New Jersey was one of the few states that allowed commercial reduction
vessels to ply its waters for menhaden. These operations, based in
Louisiana, Mississippi and Virginia, use airplanes to spot menhaden and
large factory ships to net entire schools of these important fish right off
the coast. The fish are then taken and reduced into fish meal and oil. In
fact, reduction boats removed 45.6 million pounds of menhaden from state
waters (1.2 – 3 n mi) and a total of 75.8 million pounds off the New Jersey
coast in 2000.

    Assemblyman Steve Corodemus (R-11) sponsored this legislation and many
have pushed for it with an acute sense of the important role that
recreational fishing plays in New Jersey and how essential it is to have
healthy stocks of forage fish. “This legislative campaign is important
locally and nationally because it highlights the economic significance of
recreational fishing, it highlights the importance of maintaining
predator/prey relationships, and most importantly, for the message it
sends: politicians must heed the rising voices of the recreational fishing
community,” said Herb Moore Jr., Legislative Research Coordinator for the
RFA.

    A3512 will help sustain the foundation of the marine food chain, maintain
natural predator/prey relationships and thus, help ensure the survival of
thousands of New Jersey businesses. “This is more evidence that government
will do the right thing for our marine resources when recreational anglers
organize and present a solid case,” said Michael Doebley, RFA Pennsylvania
State Chairman. The RFA congratulates everyone who has worked so hard on
this issue including Assemblyman Steve Corodemus who proved once again that
he is a true champion for sport fishermen.   

 

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