Kensdock Report: Free Saltwater Fishing Bill Flawed

  Free Saltwater Fishing Bill Flawed      

 “Federal regulations under 50 CFR Part 80 would apply to saltwater fishing license funds. These dollars would be provided the full protection of federal law, and could not be used for any purpose other than the fisheries work of NJ DFW. My office, and the OIG enforce these regulations – it is a big part of what we do. Over the past two years I have personally intervened in close to 20 attempts to divert license revenues or assets acquired with those funds across the 18 agencies in our region that receive Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration dollars. We take this responsibility very seriously, and have, to date, prevented diversions.”

— John F. Organ, Ph.D., CWB
Chief, Division of Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration
Adjunct Associate Professor of Wildlife Conservation, UMass Amherst
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service


The following statements were used to lift the free registry bill S1122/A823 out of committee and to push it through the New Jersey Senate and Assembly. However they are grossly incorrect.  

1)    Federal money that was intended for the New Jersey Bureau of Marine Fisheries 2010 budget was diverted, raided or stolen. This is not true.

2)    If New Jersey had a saltwater license fund the money would not be protected from being raided, diverted, or stolen. This is also not true, see above quote.

This in itself should be enough for Governor Christie’s to veto the bill. However there is more: 

            The free saltwater registry bill also circumvented New Jersey State regulations.

Through an Executive Order established last year, Governor Christie declared that proposed and pending State rules and regulations be reviewed, including a public comment period.   The free registry bill S1122 is a prime example as to why he issued this order. Considering:

The free fishing bill S1122/A823 is a unfunded mandate with $600,000 dollar price tag.

  • NJ will continue to lose millions of dollars in Dingell-Johnson sport fishing restoration funds with the free saltwater fishermen registry bill.  


  • NJ will continue to lose grant money with the free registry bill. Like the $150,000,000 federal grant Florida was online to receive last year. Florida planned to build saltwater hatcheries, creating 3,129 immediate construction jobs and 169 permanent jobs.


  •  There will not be a 2011 NJ herring season due to lack of funds. The New Jersey Bureau of Marine Fisheries is now operating in a triage state. How long before the fire reaches summer flounder?


  • These are some of the reasons that many have withdrawn support of the free fishing bills A823/S122. Including former sponsor Assemblyman Rumana who now publicly opposes the bills. He also has asked Governor Christie not to sign the bills.


If you are a NJ Saltwater fishermen or a NJ tax payer, do yourself a favor, call Governor Christie to ask him to veto the free fishing bill S1122.  Those interested in contacting the Governor’s office can do so by calling 1-609-292-6000

  2 comments for “Kensdock Report: Free Saltwater Fishing Bill Flawed

  1. Brian
    February 9, 2011 at 11:04 pm

    One of the reasons for a NJ license is so the number of anglers can actually be counted. These are numbers that can be used to get federal funds. Am I correct? Any other way to quantify numbers would be unreliable.

  2. kensdock
    February 9, 2011 at 11:54 pm

    Brian you are correct, the feds have a definition of what constitutes a saltwater license. Included is a requirement that at least one dollar of the fee goes the NJDFW.
    How was the fishing in Florida?

    The feds have a formula in determining the amount of DJSR funds that the States Receive, including coastline, amount of fishermen and other factors. The amount DJSR funds a State can receive: minimum of 1% and a maximum of 5% of $389,552,973 DJSR funds {2010}. NJ receives the minimum due to one fact NJ does not have a saltwater license.


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